25 Dos & Don’ts for Brooklyn’s Public Outdoor Pools

A historic photo of Kościuszko pool.
US National Archives / Public Domain

Brooklyn has wonderful outdoor swimming facilities, where you can really cool off from New York’s sometimes intense humidity and heat. The great thing is that they're open all summer.

The upside is that these are free facilities, with complete locker rooms with showers, attendants, bathrooms and lifeguards. The downside is that they can get pretty crowded, especially on the hottest days and on weekends. And, there’s not much shade at most of these pools, so come prepared with sunscreen or face the consequences.

The NYC Parks Department has very specific rules about public swimming pools. Here’s what you need to know:


  1. DO bring your own lock. (Use a master or combo lock, luggage locks aren’t allowed).
  2. DO bring your own towel and sunscreen; these are not for sale.
  3. DO take a shower in the locker room before entering the pool; mandatory.
  4. DO therefore, do bring flip-flops.
  5. Also, while usually there is adequate soap, DO bring your own shampoo, etc.
  6. DO bring a book or magazines to read, but not a newspaper. Newspapers are not allowed.
  7. DO wear a hat if you like on the deck, but do not wear it in the pool.
  8. DO eat before or after. Some pools have designated eating areas, but you can’t just eat anywhere.
  1. DO wear ONLY a white t-shirt over your bathing suit.
  2. Men: DO wear only swimming trunks with a mesh lining.
  3. Ladies: It’s nice, but not mandatory to tie up long hair in a swim cap.
  4. DO dress for the occasion. Everyone on the pool deck must be in a bathing suit; no street attire allowed.
  5. DO accompany children. Kids under 16 “must be at least eight inches taller than the maximum water depth to enter the pool without adult supervision. Specific height requirements are posted at every pool," according to the Parks Department.

    DO NOT

    1. DON'T pee in the pool, or defecate; this includes children, too. Please take them to the toilet before entering the pool, and frequently as necessary after.
    2. DON'T go to the public pool wearing bandages, with lesions or if you are visibly sick. You will not be allowed to enter for reasons of public health.
    3. DON'T bring swimming aids, water toys, and flotation devices –not allowed.
    4. DON'T bring anything electronic: radios, cameras, and cellular phones— not allowed.
    5. DON'T drink alcohol — not allowed.
    6. DON'T bring gear: No beach chairs, bags, blanket, or beach balls are permitted on the deck.
    1. DON'T bring your baby stroller if you can avoid it. The pool attendants will try to lock it up but they won’t be responsible if it is taken.
    2. DON'T bring your pets— not allowed.
    3. DON'T smoke — not allowed.
    4. DON'T dive unless in a designated area.
    5. DON'T wear shoes or sneakers in the pool area, not allowed. Rubber flip-flops or water shoes are permitted.
    6. DON'T run, swear, and act in a raucous manner — not allowed.


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