Friday, September 5, 2008

From LagOOn to schOOl

All the outdoor city pools closed after Labor Day. And it's time for the annual draining of the beach at Humboldt Park. We got a good hand full of swims in at the 3rd coast "beach in the middle of the city" behind the Humboldt park district building, just south of North Ave. on Humboldt Blvd. (Sacramento).
Although I've heard disturbing urban legends of syringes and other nastiness being found at the bottom of the swimming hole in past years, it was a welcome and relatively clean refuge during frequent high E. coli levels at the big lakefront beaches. Ah, yes. The seedy underbelly of Chicago includes ancient sewage pipes prone to overflowing into our lovely Lake Michigan whenever we get good hard rains.

We'll miss Holstein Park with it's inner city, country club ambiance. Maybe next year the shallow end won't be over Sagezilla's head. We'll miss Pulaski Park on Blackhawk. Their shallow end really is far less than the marked 3 feet. And they have a fun, small water slide, tire swing and sprinkler park into about a foot depth that's perfect for the younger crowd. Best of all, it's never crowded and there are no lines. We'll miss Avondale Park pool with a depth of less than 3 feet throughout the entire pool. As a "mini-pool" it is for the 6-12 crowd and smaller kids with parents. It doesn't attract the rowdy teens. We swam for hours last Sunday and only one other kid was in the pool. It's like having our own large, private, in ground pool with life guards and maintenance staff, for free!

We will not miss Portage Park with it's overcrowded kid's pool, petty bureaucrats and snobby claims as a past Olympic training ground. We tried to swim there for years, but we always faced long lines. I was refused admittance for wearing an all white, cotton nursing t-shirt over a swim suit, because the lifeguard insisted it wasn't a t shirt. If a child has to go to the bathroom, you have to go to the back of the lengthy line to return to the sprinkler park.

Independence Park will be our new aquatic realm for fall and winter since their indoor pool stays open year round and their swim instructors are phenomenal.

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