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Landon Vonderschmidt, West Elm

Every summer, there comes a point when New Yorkers declare they can’t take the heat any longer. For those of you who don’t have a temperature-controlled infinity pool waiting for you in the Hamptons, this pronouncement is typically followed by a very hesitant Google search—“public pools near me”—and, subsequently, a series of excuses for why you shouldn’t go. It’s dirty. I’ll never find a chair. I’m not in the mood to be splashed. Honestly, we felt the same way—until we saw this refreshing makeover.

photo courtesy of nyc parks

Landon Vonderschmidt, West Elm

The Wagner Pool in Harlem (which hadn’t been majorly renovated since the ’70s) was one of six public New York City pools to get a vibrant facelift this season, courtesy of the Cool Pools project, an initiative led by West Elm and Sherwin-Williams in partnership with NYC Parks. The program definitely lives up to its name. This incredible transformation put all our fears of public pools to rest. 

photo by Landon Vonderschmidt, West Elm

At Wagner, the dreary cement walls and dilapidated pergolas were spruced up with orange, yellow, and turquoise paint. Punchy graphics, including a Pop Art–like mural of melting ice cream and the words Marcoooo Poloooo, can be spotted all over the place. For the visitors more keen on sunbathing than swimming, West Elm supplied handsome wood outdoor furniture and coordinating blue umbrellas for the space. 

Landon Vonderschmidt, West Elm

If Wagner Pool isn’t close to your neighborhood, consider checking out one of the other five NYC public pools that got a colorful upgrade this summer: Claremont Pool in the Bronx, Commodore Barry Pool in Brooklyn, Dry Dock Pool in Manhattan, Liberty Pool in Queens, and Tottenville Pool in Staten Island. Catch them before they close for the season on September 8! 

You know where we’ll be chilling for the rest of the summer.

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