Tuesday, September 17th, 2013...10:19 am

Would you go swimming in NYC?

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When I was a freshman in college, I took an oceanography course. Being a nerd, I still remember one of the questions on our final exam:

“You MUST go swimming in New York City. Explain where you would choose to swim and why you would choose that particular location. Back up your explanation with examples from the course.”


My Answer:

“I would go swimming at the mouth of the Hudson River during high tide, no less than 24 hrs. after a rain event. This is because the water at the mouth of the Hudson has a low residence time due to tidal flushing. During high tide, this water will be at it’s cleanest because the region is flushed with water from the ocean.  However, I must wait at least 24 hrs. after a rain event because the rain will flush extra pollutants from the City into the surrounding waters.”


At the time I wrote that answer, I never even dreamed that I’d be living in NYC one day. After living here for just over 3 years- I must admit- I’ve never gone swimming here-and I’m not sure that I ever would!

New York City has over 200 miles of shore- front public space and they are working to make it safer for recreation (in compliance with the Clean Water Act). There are several spots approved for fishing and boating, but if I had to go swimming today, I think I’d stick to a pool.

I had to laugh when I saw this article over the summer with the tag line: “Where can I swim in NYC, and is it going to kill me”?  They offer some pretty sound advice (Dr. Duedall would be proud!). So, what do you think? Would you ever swim in NYC?…and please explain your answers!




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