Miramar Saltwater Pool

by Cole Thompson

They played music, too. If you went under, you couldn’t hear it, and when you surfaced, there it was! Walking home (I lived on Post) I remember that heavy, exhausted feeling, and also feeling like I was still in the water. We were lucky to have had such a fun place to enjoy the summer.” -Sheila Callahan Baumann

My Dad knew the guy who owned it. He was there all the time. I remember sitting next to him and he was telling me that he couldn’t afford to pay the taxes on it anymore. And the City of NY was broke too. They wouldn’t subsidize it either. Wow , so sad. I still remember his face as he talked about it becoming a Pathmark!” -Monica Richardson

Inwood's Miramar Saltwater Pool, circa 1956.

Inwood’s Miramar Saltwater Pool, circa 1956.

As the dog days of summer approached, generations of children in Inwood, and around the City, looked forward to one thing only…The Miramar Saltwater Pool.

Inwood's Miramar Saltwater Pool in 1927.  Source: NYPL

Inwood’s Miramar Saltwater Pool in 1927. Source: NYPL

Miramar Saltwater Pool, Inwood, 1933

Miramar Saltwater Pool, Inwood, 1933

Built in the 1920′s, the massive facility was located on 207th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues. Photos, dating as early as 1927, show a large outdoor pool just west of the University Heights Bridge.

Miramar Pool Ad, The Herald Statesman, July 22, 1932

Site of the Miramar today.  Now a Pathmark grocery store.

Site of the Miramar today. Now a Pathmark grocery store.

By the early 1970′s the Miramar was demolished, but the memories live on….

MyInwood.net reader Ken Hollerbach was born in Inwood in 1947. Ken lived on 549 Isham Street, attended Good Shepherd, and spent many a summer day lounging at the Miramar.

Ken kindly shared his memories; keeping them alive for future generations.

I remember those summer days at Miramar; a whole day of fun in the sun for only a buck. They gave you a locker key attached to an elastic strap that you wore around your ankle. The men’s lockers were in the basement, it was always cold and damp down there on the concrete floor. There were also several showers that you had to use before going up to the pool, and then when you went upstairs there was a passage on the side of the building where more showers, like a giant bidet, would finish the job of rinsing you from above and below.

I remember there was a wonderful slide and a high diving board (and two smaller ones) that seemed awfully high to a ten year old. At the shallow end of the pool, there was a “boardwalk” of painted plywood where you could stretch out in the sun.

Miramar pool medal

If you dared to, you could use the “beach” adjacent to the pool. It was the dirtiest sand I ever saw; it was full of soot and would get so hot in the sun that you couldn’t walk across it barefoot.

Miramar Ad, New York Post, May 28, 1948

There was a snack bar/lunch room that overlooked the pool where you could take a break from the sun and enjoy a coke (in a bottle). My mom always packed a sandwich for my brother and me, usually PB&J, and we sure needed the energy after playing “Creature from the Black Lagoon” for hours.

It claimed to be ‘the World’s Largest, Outdoor, Saltwater Pool’ though I doubt that it was the largest. It sure was salty too, which made it a lot easier for us to float and swim. The first time I ever swam in fresh water, I nearly drowned because I didn’t have the buoyancy I was used to in Miramar.

At the end of the day we were usually exhausted and dragged ourselves the four blocks back to Isham Street.

Sunburned and red eyed from the salt, we still couldn’t wait to do it all again the next day.”

Thanks again to Ken Hollerbach for bringing the Miramar back to life. I encourage other readers to share their Inwood memories and photos.

To read more Inwood history, click here.

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Below are a collection of real estate advertisements from ages past.  As both a real estate agent and fan of Inwood history, I found the below images fascinating.  If you’ve lived in any of these building and have stories to share, please feel free to comment in the space below the image box.

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