The Aquazanies: Astoria Pool’s kid diving troupe

These boys, clad in signature jailhouse-striped swimsuits, were part of a group of Astoria kids who called themselves the Aquazanies. 

aquazaniesIn the 1940s, they regularly put on a diving and comedy show (with props, music, and even animals joining them for some high-dive fun) on Wednesdays nights at Astoria Pool, one of the massive public swimming facilities Robert Moses built in the 1930s.

The group drew big crowds in Depression-era New York, and they had quite a following at different pools around the city.

So what happened to the Aquazanies? According to the Department of Parks & Recreation website, one Aquazany, Ernest Haridopolos, joined the FBI and worked undercover on the French Connection and Abscam cases.

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7 Responses to “The Aquazanies: Astoria Pool’s kid diving troupe”

  1. Ali Haridopolos Says:

    Hello, I am the granddaughter of Nick Haridopolos who is the oldest boy of the Haridopolos family. In this picture, is my grandfather (Nick), not Ernest. Though Ernest did swim in the Astoria pool along with my grandfather; he was not part of the Aquazanies. All six siblings were dove together there, in the group called: The Flying Haridopolos’s. Nick served in the Marines in Okinawa and worked for Grumman. Thanks,

    • Angela Basile Says:

      This is a message for Ms. Alexandra Haridopolos. I am an artist living in Astoria. I am interested in speaking or emailing with you to obtain some more information on your grandfather’s swim group. If you should be so inclined, please contact me at your earliest convenience.
      Many thanks!

      • Ali Says:

        Hi Angela,
        I can’t remember where our communication left off, so many years ago! Are you still working on art in Astoria?

  2. To Dive or Not to Dive? Says:

    […] its heyday, the high dive was also used as a stage for performers such as the Aquazanies, a musical, diving, and prop-comedy troupe who regularly performed on Wednesday nights to large […]

  3. cindy paige Says:

    My father was an Aquazanie, his name was Bill Mattor and he used to the shows at the Levittown pool when we were kids…

  4. Lita Santos Bowman Says:

    Are you the same Nick that we knew in queens in 1941-1943? I remember the pool shows and Mayor La Guardia visits and my brother, Angel Santos, in swim competitions there.

    • Ali H Says:

      Hi Lita, so sorry for the very late reply. Nick does remember Angel fondly, he says they lived on the same block. How is he doing? Nick is living on long island, if Angel is still in ny he will check the phone book for him. Again, sorry for the very late response!

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