John Jay Park and Pool
GOOD FOR: Ages 5-8

Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:East 77th Street at Cherokee Place, Manhattan, NY
Hours:Pool: 11 A.M. to 3 P.M. and 4 to 7 P.M. daily
Fee: Free
Contact:; 212-794-6566 or call 311

Bathrooms: East side of park in bathhouse
Water/Snacks: Water fountains in park; vendors at park entrance

John Jay Park features a large public swimming pool and playgrounds.

Sprinklers and a pool make John Jay Park a great destination in summer.
Photo by: Cheryl and William de Jong-Lambert

At a mere 3 acres, John Jay Park and Pool may be small, but it makes up for that with its assets and intriguing details. The 145-foot, Works Progress Administration– era swimming pool is a neighborhood hot spot—or cool spot—in summer, as are the sprinklers in the playground. A second, smaller pool is more appropriate for teaching kids how to swim.

The playground itself has lots of different equipment, including rockclimbing structures suitable for young children. It is fenced off from the rest of the park, which makes for easier child minding. The wide, paved expanses outside the playground are good for teaching younger children how to ride a bike or scooter. The park is also well shaded in summer.

A visit to John Jay Park and Pool is also a good way for the intrepid urban explorer to enjoy strolling the long east–west blocks of the Upper East Side, while viewing intriguing architectural relics. Among these are the Cherokee Apartments, which reveal how New Yorkers have worked to incorporate the benefits of sun and fresh air into urban design. Consider getting there to be part of the destination.

After exiting the subway at 77th Street, walk east five blocks to Cherokee Place. Turn north and look west to observe the stunning array of green-iron balconies perched against the yellow-brick walls of the Cherokee Apartments. These beaux arts buildings date to the early 1900s, when Mrs. W.K. Vanderbilt provided $1 million to construct housing to help halt the spread of tuberculo- sis in New York City. The buildings were laid out to provide maximum sunlight and airflow, and every apartment has a balcony.

Don’t miss the Douglas Abdell sculptures lining the west side of the park, and be sure to watch the boats go by along the East River. Remember: If you plan to swim, be aware of city park pool rules.

Plan B:

If you fancy sitting on the lawn, Carl Schurz Park (Trip 16) is located six blocks north, along the East River.


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