Thomas Jefferson Play Center

STATUS Designated Individual Landmark

First Avenue between East 111st and 114th Streets

ARCHITECT: Stanley C. Brogren; Aymar Embury II; Henry Ahrens

DATE: 1935-36

STYLE: Swimming Pool

East Harlem Manhattan Swimming Pool Works ... VIEW ALL

The Thomas Jefferson Play Center is one of a group of eleven immense outdoor swimming pools opened in the summer of 1936 in a series of grand ceremonies presided over by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and Park Commissioner Robert Moses. All of the pools were constructed largely with funding provided by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), one of many New Deal agencies created in the 1930s to address the Great Depression.

Designed to accommodate a total of 49,000 users simultaneously at locations scattered throughout New York City’s five boroughs, the new pool complexes quickly gained recognition as being among the most remarkable public facilities constructed in the country. The pools were completed just two and a half years after the LaGuardia administration took office, and all but one survives relatively intact today.

STATUS Designated Individual Landmark

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The Neighborhood

East Harlem

East Harlem encompasses a large section of northeastern Manhattan bounded by 96th Street, 142nd Street, Fifth Avenue and the Harlem River. Also known as El Barrio, the area is famous as one of the largest predominantly Latino neighborhoods in the city. Echoing development patterns across...

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Doreen Gallo: DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance

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Fern Luskin: Lamartine Place Historic District; Friends of Lamartine Place & Gibbons Underground Railroad Site

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Zella Jones: NoHo Historic District; NoHo East; and NoHo Extension

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Erika Petersen: West End Preservation Society