BY THE VILLAGE SUN | After being closed since the pandemic, the Houston Street Center has finally reopened its swimming pool and conference center.
It’s big news since the city’s Parks Department currently operates only two recreation center pools south of 42nd Street. So the affordable pool at the Houston Street Center, at 273 Bowery, at E. Houston Street, is a key community asset.
It costs just $8 per ticket for adults to swim and $5 for kids 17 and under, as well as adults 60 and over. If you buy five or 15 tickets, the cost drops even more. Tickets are usually good for a one-hour slot or, more rarely, a 45-minute slot.
Meanwhile, the center’s community conference center is also back in full swing, offering affordable space for meetings, events, creative rehearsals and indoor athletics. The center can accommodate up to 150 people in seated classrooms, plus more in one of the program’s two basketball courts.
“If you can dream it, we can probably find a space for you to do it, at an affordable rate,” said Adam Blackman, director of the Houston Street Center, University Settlement.
Melissa Aase, C.E.O. of University Settlement, said, “Every dollar we make in rental income is invested directly back into community services and programs at Houston Street Center — a social enterprise that directly supports children, youth, families and elders in our neighborhoods. We see sharing this facility with hundreds of community groups as part of our mission, and we want everyone to hear that we’re open for business!”
Eva, a participant in the center’s programs, is among the many happy to see the place back open again.
“I’ve been coming to Houston Street Center for more than 10 years,” she said. “After I retired, I felt like I needed to find something to do. I needed exercise, and Houston Street Center was more affordable than other things in the area. I joined all types of classes, including swimming — I love the pool, and we’re so glad that it’s open again! I learned how to swim here. Our instructor was so encouraging. It took a lot of time, but the instructor was really patient.
“Houston Street Center is like a big family. There are lots of things to enjoy here, and things to learn. We learn how to keep ourselves physically healthy, and mentally healthy, because we build up our relationships with each other. I’m so happy to be here!”
University Settlement offers recreational swimming on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for all ages; children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Lap swimming, offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays, is open to ages 12 and up.
Houston Street Center and its pool are jointly operated by University Settlement and the Chinatown Y.
For more information, stop by 273 Bowery, Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or call 212-475-5008 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.