June 4, 2011

The pool at the St. George Hotel

In the good old days, New Yorkers had a slew of great beaches they could visit in the summer. But for die-hard, concrete-loving, stay-in-the-city types, there was also an option -- the pool at the St. George Hotel in Brooklyn.

I found this image at brooklynhistory.org but I must confess, I don't remember it being quite that grand or being filled with salt water. It was nice, mind you, maybe even very nice but I don't remember the high ceiling or balconies. I was young; perhaps I forgot. In any case, it was a great pool and one of my uncles was a lifeguard there for a time. His name was Jim O'Connor and he looked very cute in his official bathing suit and whistle.

Back in the day, smoking cigarettes was both accepted and expected. I remember that there was a recessed area right by the pool, a "room" where you could smoke. It was tiled and had tiled seats along the walls so it was sort of a steam room without the steam, featuring an open doorway through which you could see the exciting goings-on at the pool. And it did seem exciting at all times. This wasn't just a pool, it was the pool at the St. George Hotel. Posh.

Inside the smoking area I remember that they had small, recessed cubbyholes right by the door, each just the right size to hold a pack or two of cigarettes and your lighter. No one stole in the old days. Anyway, with all the insane smoking laws going into effect everywhere these days, I thought it might be nice to revisit this lovely, civilized convenience -- a genteel, poolside smoking area.

I don't smoke now but I did back then and it was very nice indeed to smoke at the St. George Hotel pool. 


Artichoke Annie said...

I loved this - I felt like I was right there at The pool at the St. George Hotel...enjoying a poolside cigarette...ah, those were the days my friend.

writenow said...

That's nice to hear. I'm going to write more about my old-timey experiences in exotic locales, lest the memories drift away with me into the great unknown. Better to share them.