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‘Better than ever’: NYC Parks reopens Flushing Meadows Aquatic Center after it was forced to close in January 2020

Feb. 27, 2023 By Bill Parry

The Flushing Meadows Aquatic Center reopened to the public for the first time in more than three years Monday, Feb. 27, and seniors were back in the water of its Olympic-sized swimming pool soon after the doors were opened.

The Parks Department was forced to close the center in January 2020 due to emergency netting installation on the interior roof and repair of the pool floor, with a delayed opening due to COVID-19 pandemic impacts.

“We are beyond excited to reopen this beloved Aquatics Center to the community, a true focal point for water education, swim training and exercise for many Queens swimmers,” NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue said. “In addition to the work done on the facility to increase the Center’s longevity, programming here will be better than ever — as part of the reopening, five swim classes are returning, and we’re even introducing two new classes for the first time ever.”

(Photo courtesy of NYC Parks/Daniel Avila)

Programming at the pool will also feature returning swim classes, including Swim for Life, Learn to Swim, Youth Swim Teams, Adult and Senior Water Aerobics and Adaptive Aquatics.

“The long-awaited reopening of the Flushing Meadows Aquatics Center will make a world of difference for thousands of residents across Queens, especially those in Western Queens as the Astoria Pool closes for renovations. This center will once again give families a place to bond, kids a place to learn, and seniors a place to stay active — all things our borough deserves,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “As the father of a young son, I can’t wait to spend steamy summer days at the Aquatics Center with my family, and I look forward to seeing thousands of my neighbors there as well.”

The pool and the adjacent ice rink were originally scheduled to be closed for a six-week period. An additional project to repair and upgrade the roof of the Aquatics Center will begin in 2025.

“The reopening of the Aquatics Center has been a long time coming, and I’m thrilled that Queens residents will once again be able to take advantage of all that this exceptional facility has to offer,” Congresswoman Grace Meng said. “From great exercise and swimming classes to simply enjoying the water, I am excited to see those from our borough, especially our kids, families, and seniors, using this wonderful pool.”

Congresswoman Grace Meng. (Photo courtesy of NYC Parks/Daniel Avila)

Councilman Shekar Krishnan, the chair of the Committee on Parks and Recreation, noted that Parks is introducing two brand new aquatics classes to the Aquatics Center, including the Swim Instruction Program (SIP) for Water Safety Instructors, an advanced swim class with the goal of teaching swimmers how to become Water Safety Instructors, and Youth and Adult Hydro-Fit, a form of competitive swim training and conditioning, including general dry-land training exercises.

“Swimming isn’t just recreation and exercise, it’s also a life-saving skill for New Yorkers. I’m thrilled to celebrate the long-awaited reopening of the Flushing Meadows Aquatics Center, which will host two new swim classes alongside five returning programs,” Krishnan said. “The Aquatics Center is an Olympic-size, fully accessible, affordable pool facility, and the working-class, immigrant communities of Queens deserve no less.”

(Photo courtesy of NYC Parks/Daniel Avila)

Councilwoman Sandra Ung said she had fielded many questions from her constituents in Flushing over the course of the past year.

“Since taking office, I have heard from numerous constituents wondering if and when the Aquatics Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park would reopen to the public,” Ung said. “While I know it has been frustrating for them to be without this swimming pool for so long, I am happy the Parks Department is finally able to reopen it.

Not only is this one of only two public indoor swimming pools in the borough, but it is also right in the heart of several different immigrant communities. I look forward to welcoming swimmers both young and old back to this world-class amenity, not just so they have a place to swim and exercise, but to take advantage of all of the great programs that drew approximately 350,000 visitors a year before it was forced to close.”

Recreation memberships are free for youth and young adults through the age of 24. For information on hours, programming, and how to become a Recreation Center member, visit the Parks’ Recreation Center webpage here.

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