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.


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.


“Recollections of Northern Manhattan” by William Calver

William Calver

Much of what we know today about the history and pre-history of Inwood and Washington Heights is due largely to the turn of the century work of amateur historians, self taught archaeologists and close friends William Calver and Reginald Bolton. Starting in the 1880′s Bolton and Calver began exploring northern Manhattan with picks and shovels, […]

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Inwood: The Bar Scene of Not So Long Ago

Bars of Inwood, New York City

There was a time not so long ago when Inwood had a thriving bar scene.  Up, down and between Dyckman Street and 207th, there were some 100, mainly Irish, bars. While a few bars, The Piper’s Kilt, The Liffy, Irish Eyes, as well as a few others still remain, most disappeared as the demographics of […]

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History of Inwood’s Isham Park

Isham Park, Inwood, New York City

In 1862 a businessman named William Bradley Isham rented a summer retreat in northern Manhattan. He fell in love with the place and returned two years later to purchase the property. What follows is an exhaustive photo essay describing the origins of Isham Park.

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Inwood Business Advertisements: 1975-1976

Inwood Advertisements from the 1970's.

Decades before Inwood had Starbucks, frozen yogurt and sushi arrived in Inwood, another generation of business owners serviced the district. The following advertisements, shot from the defunct Heights-Inwood Newspaper, reveal an Inwood with movie theaters, a bowling alley and even a pub serving fifteen cent beers. If some of these ads stir up old memories […]

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215th Street Stairs

215th Street stairs in Inwood, New York City

Generations of Inwood residents have trudged up and down the familiar stairs which connect Broadway with Park Terrace East. The steps themselves have stood frozen in time as the surrounding neighborhood reached maturity. The stairs are a familiar sight to anyone who has ever passed through Inwood. The ancient passageway was built in an era […]

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The Inwood Pottery Studio: An Oral History with Lorrie Goulet

Lorrie Goulet and the Inwood Pottey Studios

Since launching Myinwood.net I have posted quite a bit on the Inwood Pottery Studios; which once occupied Inwood Hill Park. The pottery, the houseboat community, the idyllic setting of a nearly forgotten era has always fascinated me. So, I was thrilled when I received an email from a former student of the Pottery named Lorrie […]

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