Red Hook camp kids denied access to their own hood’s pool!

for The Brooklyn Paper
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School’s out for summer — and the pool’s out for some Red Hook campers as well.

Three weeks into the camp season, city bureaucrats are still blocking kids from Red Hook Recreation Summer Camp from using the neighborhood watering hole — and parents are irate.

“Government should be ashamed of itself,” said one mom, Elizabeth Ernish.

The camp, run by the Parks Department, has been using the adjacent pool for years to teach underprivileged children how to swim. The camp has always followed the proper procedures, including employing an on-site aquatic director required by the city. But this summer, the Department of Health denied the camp’s permit, even as it approved pool permits for five other camps.

The agency did not give a reason.

“I’m outraged that my kids are being denied the right to swim and have to be stuck inside, watching kids from other neighborhoods come in and use the pool next door,” Ernish said.

Some parents have tried to make it a class issue, but several of the five camps that have been approved are non-profit camps serving inner city youth.

Still, the denial of the Red Hookers has parents hot under the collar.

“Whoever heard of a summer camp at a pool where the kids are not allowed to swim?” said Alan Mukamal, who has two children spending a hot July without a swim program at the Red Hook camp.

Parks Department spokesman Phil Abramson said that his agency doesn’t have anything against the Red Hook kids, but merely that the camp didn’t follow proper permit procedure this year.

The Department of Health would not explain the screw up, saying only that it is working with the Parks Department — it’s a Parks Department camp, remember — to complete the application.

As city officials point fingers, kids just want to do what kids do in summer: cool off in one of the city’s best public pools.

For now, the campers are spending their day playing foosball and air hockey — both delightful pastimes, of course, but no substitute for jumping into three feet, 10 inches of icy cold water.

“It stinks that we can’t swim,” said Miles Mukamal, 9, a camper.

Updated 5:19 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Al from Red Hook says:
Thank you Brooklyn Papers!! After three weeks of red tape and lame excuses, DOH finally issued the camp's swim permit on Friday afternoon.
July 26, 2010, 9:19 am
Roy from North Carolina says:
Boy, I remember going to this pool when it first opened, I was visiting family in Red Hook, and my cousins took me there. I had never seen a public pool, just the YMCA pools...I was amazed and had a great time, it 's been about 20 years or so, but I still remember it.
July 26, 2010, 4:05 pm
Roy from North Carolina says:
Then did they give it an overhaul it 20 or so years ago, becaus the previous summer it was not there. Unless it is a different pool, the one I'm thinking about is no to far from Henry St, in the RedHook Projects.
July 27, 2010, 7:03 am
scott from red hook says:
Thanks for the reporting and thanks to NYC Dept. of Health for finally getting our kids in the water!
July 27, 2010, 9:37 am
Elizabeth from Red Hook says:
Please remove the incendiary comments posted above. Red Hook Pool one of Brooklyn's most beloved institutions and proudly serves swimmers from every imaginable ethnic groups and socio-economic backgrounds. Plus Mary from Brooklyn Heights is just wack!
July 28, 2010, 11:59 am

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