Chelsea Piers

Fantastic 25-yard pool with stunning views of the Hudson river.

So, the challenge begins, and where better than a 5-star NYC pool with Hudson River views!

On a business trip to New York for a few days and keen to maintain my weekly 6-swim, 18km routine, so I started researching New York swimming pools. Start thinking, how many pools did I visit as a swim club kid? I Couldn’t remember more than a few, but there must have been dozens.

Google throws me several blogs and sites listing a few choices, the same few pools crop up several times, and top of the list? Chelsea Piers.

So, I plot a route for a morning of sightseeing and swimming! Set off from Hilton Midtown, through Times Square to the Empire States building, pay my money and take the elevator to the top - impressive views and fantastic story; how did they build it so fast?

Next stop, I’ve heard a lot about the newly opened Highline, part of the west side Hudson redevelopment project. I pick up the trail at the start and follow it through the buildings, with fantastic views from the once elevated rail freight line passing 10 meters above the streets below. Walk as far as the 20th street stairwell, then walk west to the Chelsea Pier entertainment and sports area.

The facilities look great from the vast reception & cafe area, which makes the $50 day pass entry fee slightly more acceptable.

Make my way out to the pool deck; wow, what a view! A full glass panoramic of the Hudson River. Quick pre-chat swim with the pool coordinator to run through the pool rules and be allocated a lane (we need these in the UK!), borrow a required swim cap (bright green triathlon cap) and figure out how to put my Garmin swim watch into yards. My first time in a 25-yard pool, I have no idea what that is in meters; I know it’s slightly shorter (later find out 25 yards is 22.86 meters). These US yards will make a real mess of my usually OCD, rounding to 1,000 meters!

It’s great to experience such a well-managed pool; as I start the swim, they actively moved my slower lane partner (Wyndley, are you reading?). Also great to see the poolside staff not just covering lifeguard duties but also providing ad-hoc technique tips and training pointers to swimmers – something I’ve not seen elsewhere.

Complete a 5,000-yard swim, with a quick spa pool break after 3k to enjoy the view (you can see the Statue of Liberty from the jacuzzi). I figured I’d best get my monies worth – at a quarter (25 cents) a length!

The views of the Hudson are stunning, the pool space is floor to ceiling glass on three sides, and the pool feels like it could almost flow out into the river. In the summer months, I bet you’d have to be in early in the morning to get a sunbed on the deck.

I’ve also discovered my new favourite pre (and post) swim sugar snack, Swedish fish! Now officially addicted!

After making the most of the facilities, I joined the Highline and continued on downtown, walking through Greenwich Village and Tribeca neighbourhoods, straight through Battery Park at the lowest point of Manhatten Island, walking a total of 17.4km for the day!

Decide if I ever do manage to complete my 1,000 pool challenge, I need to finish in New York and return to Chelsea Piers, sit in the spa pool and remember where it all began!

Swim Stats

  • Length: 5000 yards total swim
  • 1:18 pace / 100y
  • Garmin Swim Watch



The pool, facilities and view were worth every penny of the $50 entry fee. I wish UK pools were this well managed (and clean). If all US pools are this great, I’m going to make a point of visiting as many as possible.

Pool Details

  • Length: 25 yards
  • 6-lane pool
  • Indoor

Chelsea Piers
Pier 60 - 20th Street & Hudson River Park, New York, NY, USA

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