Outdoor Pools: The Summer's Coveted Condo Amenity

Outdoor pools - New Construction ManhattanAs the scorching summer rages on, New Yorkers find themselves searching for the sweet, serene relief that goes hand in hand with swimming. Recently, however, it has become increasingly difficult to find Manhattan apartment listings offering on-site pool facilities. Even more rare are the highly coveted rooftop, outdoor pools. It is more likely, if a building has a pool at all, that it is an indoor unit, a trend that has become increasingly more prevalent.

According to the New York Times, outdoor pools have become a rarity in NYC. In fact, while there are nearly 150 condominiums with pools as an amenity, only about 15 of them are outdoors and several are privately owned townhouses. Those offering outdoor swimming facilities see it as a source of pride -- and therefore use it as a selling point. But as the number of outdoor pools dwindle, the demand for them is rising, and Manhattan new construction buildings are innovating their pool amenities.

One of the more modern approaches to the pool is the hybrid approach taken by Nouvel at 100 11th Avenue in Chelsea. This luxury condo’s pool has the ability to be partially opened, offering residents the choice between an indoor and outdoor experience. In some cases outdoor pools have become a source of conflict between building managers and residents. A perfect example is A Building at 425 East 13th Street in the East Village. Opened in 2008, the rooftop pool quickly gained a spring break party atmosphere, raising concerns within the management team. To combat this, they placed several restrictions on their swimming area. These include rules ranging from displaying photo ID to the far more ridiculous notion that anyone caught asleep on the rooftop deck is considered a vagrant -- and thus subject to arrest. Other buildings restrict pool hours, and charge dues to residents taking advantage of the facilities. It all boils down to the fact that if one is lucky enough to purchase a luxury apartment in a building containing a pool, it doesn’t automatically guarantee smooth sailing.

The tougher it is to find listings with pools, the more highly sought after these buildings become. A pool may not be a necessity, but it is certainly a selling point as prospective buyers make their decision concerning the purchase of a condominium. This has been true for quite awhile, and the thirst for outdoor swimming facilities does not appear as if it will be quenched any time soon. The brochure featured by Gracie Towers in the Upper East Side when it opened in 1961 illustrates this ideal perfectly. It was described as “a country club atmosphere for the satisfying pleasure of quiet relaxation...” This promotes the image of a pampered lifestyle, as coveted in 1961 as it is in 2011.

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