Easiest way to keep cool is here

The Brooklyn Paper
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The “Double D” swimming pool sits between Douglass and Degraw street (hence the name), a chlorinated lake in a valley of concrete and truck lots — surreal as a swimming pool floating in the East River, but no one is making postcards.

The towering tenements of the Wyckoff Houses loom to the north, and low-slung, smog-colored warehouses sit to the south. A church steeple several long blocks west in Carroll Gardens is the most romantic thing on the horizon. But while this landscape doesn’t add up to much when compared to the glistening East River surroundings of the flashy barge pool, at least a few swimmers are voting with their water-wrinkled feet and going to Double D. In some circles, it has become a proudly inglorious counterpoint to Brooklyn Heights Floating Lady.

“Let’s face it, this is the least romantic place possible for a pool,” said Spike McClure, speaking from a plastic chaise recliner on the deck of the Double D. “But I don’t come to the pool for the view.”

“If I want a view I’ll go the Promenade. If I want to swim, I’ll come here,” McClure concluded.

I was hoping to get in a swim myself last Sunday when I arrived at the floating pool at 3:15 for the 3:30 swim session. Looking back, my naiveté shocks me. The scene was like Disneyland all over again, except the only ride in sight was the on-ramp to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Children were running back and forth between the pool’s sandy “beach” and the line of overheated adults, asking when they would be able to swim and if they could buy French fries at the concession stand. A woman murmured into a cell phone about the “awesome view” and told at least 12 other people that they should meet her there. Other people scratched bug bites and stared crabbily ahead, at the long procession of backs that separated them from the glorious riverfront bath they had come for. A woman carrying a clipboard lifted a tan arm and pointed to the people snake.

“You should have been here an hour and a half ago,” she said.

The early bird gets the worm, indeed. I left without touching a drop of water, unless you count sweat.

The next day I went swimming at the reliable Double D. A whistle pierced the air as I entered the pool yard. A woman had been caught trying to steal into the unguarded kiddie pool over a cheery yellow brick wall.

“That lady jumped up the wall and so now the kids are gonna think they can, too,” one lifeguard remarked to another, shouting over the insistent twack of a handball game in Thomas Greene park next to the pool.

It was a fast, refreshing swim. On the way home, I stopped on Columbia Street to watch the sun set.

There was no line for that, either.

Ariella Cohen is a staff reporter for The Brooklyn Paper

Kitchen Sink

Straight outta Albany: Gov. Spitzer has signed into law a Brooklyn-born law that will give local Community Boards the right to compete for state planning grants. Zoning geeks everywhere are rejoicing.

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