Through June, July, and August, he attended dedication ceremonies at the 11 brand-new municipal pools the city opened that year.
The pools were a monumental achievement. Built with WPA labor, they were safe alternatives for city kids who used to cool off by swimming in the East and Hudson Rivers.
Judging by the enormous crowds seen in these vintage photos from that opening summer, they were a huge hit. The McCarren Park pool (top left), was so enormous, it could hold almost 7,000 swimmers at a time. Closed in 1984, it’s finally reopening this summer.
Astoria Park in Queens offered incredible views of the Hell Gate Bridge and was so state-of-the-art, Olympic trials for the U.S. swim and dive teams were held there.
The Sunset Pool, in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, featured underwater lights, which were flipped on by Mayor La Guardia during the opening ceremony on July 21.