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05.20.2014
Floating Towards Reality
The so-called +Pool proposed for New York's East River could actually happen.
Tests are underway for the filtration system for the +Pool, which could open in the East or Hudson River in 2016.
Courtesy +Pool

Float Lab, a rectangular, blue platform currently bobbing alongside Pier 40 in the Hudson River, is the “science-lab version” of +Pool—a floating swimming pool that promises to filter river water through its submerged walls. The pool would be the first of its kind and is slated to welcome New York City swimmers in the summer of 2016.

Support for +Pool has been gaining momentum since four young designers hatched the idea for a half-pool, half-water filter in 2010. The filtration system that the team is testing in the Hudson is, for the most part, keeping the river’s pollutants out of the pool. Over the next six months the +Pool team will be analyzing and perfecting the system. “We’re testing for the worst-case scenario and designing for the worst-case scenario,” said Dong-Ping Wong, a co-founder of +Pool, at a recent press conference on the project’s future.

 
 

The event was held at Kickstarter’s headquarters in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, which was a fitting venue because over $275,000 has been raised for +Pool through the crowd-funding platform. That money has been used to help develop Float Lab, but to cover the estimated $15 million construction cost of the Olympic-size pool the team needs to raise a lot more. To do that, it is selling naming rights for each of the 70,000 tiles that will make up the pool’s walls, floors, and deck. If successful, the end result will be a floating mosaic of supporters’ names.

 

Money aside, a lot of planning and politics needs to happen before +Pool is dropped into a New York City river. Ultimately, +Pool will be anchored to the riverbed and tethered to the shore with a walkway. The most likely sites are Brooklyn Bridge Park and Hudson River Park.

For the next two years, the team will be busy finalizing the filtration system, boosting political support, securing permits, locking down a site, building the pool, and getting the structure installed. It will be busy, but the +Pool team says it is closer to making its plan happen than ever before. “It started with a simple idea amongst friends,” said Archie Coates, a +Pool co-founder. “But it’s grown into something much larger than that.”

Henry Melcher