Mayor Adams reaches deal to raise lifeguard pay in an effort to increase staffing | Upper East Site
Mayor Adams reaches deal to raise lifeguard pay in an effort to increase staffing | Upper East Site

Mayor Adams Hikes Lifeguard Pay to Staff More Public Pools after UES Fiasco

In an effort to boost staffing levels and keep public pools open, New York City lifeguards are getting a raise under a new deal between their union and Mayor Eric Adams. Along with the pay hike comes plans to develop a training program to fully staff the City’s mini pools. Both measures come after a tumultuous start to the season that left swimmers on the Upper East Side feeling frustrated.

“Every New Yorker deserves to safely enjoy our city’s public pools and beaches this summer and my team has taken extraordinary measures to make that happen,” announced Mayor Adams.

In addition to the pay raise— to $19.46 per hour— the Mayor says the City “will pay a retention bonus in September to guards who work every week through the end of the summer season” in an effort to keep public pools and beaches staffed.

ALSO READ | HomBom Toys Returns to the UES with the Same Personal Touch it’s Had for Decades

The move comes after the opening day fiasco last week at the Upper East Side’s only public pool, located at John Jay Park on East 77th Street between York Avenue and the FDR Drive.

Swimmers booted from nearly empty public pool by Parks Department | Upper East Site
Swimmers booted from nearly empty public pool by Parks Department | Upper East Site

Swimmers were furious after being ordered out of the nearly empty pool by NYC Parks officials to make way for a different group of swimmers under a so-called ‘sessions’ policy– despite the pool containing far fewer than the 75 person limit for a single lifeguard. 

“I’m just so shocked this is the first day of the pool and like this is happening,” Crystal told us last week as she was leaving John Jay Park shortly after being kicked out.

Swimmers booted from nearly empty public pool by Parks Department | Upper East Site
Swimmers booted from nearly empty public pool by Parks Department | Upper East Site

“You have one lifeguard. It makes no sense,” the disappointed swimmer added.

Now, a message on NYC Parks’ website warns swimmers that “pool hours will be split into five separate sessions at crowded pools in order to provide pool access to more patrons.”

ALSO READ | Papaya King’s Future Uncertain After 90 Years Amid Lawsuit, Demolition Plans

The debacle also prompted Upper East Side City Council Member Julie Menin to pen a letter to the mayor last week calling on him to raise lifeguard pay increase staffing.

As of June 25th, NYC Parks said it had hired fewer than half of the 1,400 to 1,500 certified lifeguards the agency hoped to staff the City’s beaches and pools this summer. 

NYC Parks says public pool time is being split into 'sessions' | Upper East Site
NYC Parks says public pool time is being split into ‘sessions’ | Upper East Site

Mayor Adams warns this won’t be a quick fix for the problem at public pools and beaches— blaming the national lifeguard shortage as well as what he called ‘inefficient practices’ that need reform.

“We will continue to work closely to correct course on policies that don’t serve New Yorkers and pool resources from all agencies to ensure a fun and safe summer.”

For updates around the clock, follow us on InstagramTwitter and Facebook

HomBom Toys is having a soft opening at its store, located at 1470 First Avenue | Upper East Site

HomBom Toys Returns to the UES with the Same Personal Touch it’s Had for Decades

Caffè Arrone is expanding with a new UES expresso and wine bar | Caffè Arrone

New Espresso & Wine Bar, Italian and Chinese Restaurants Coming to the UES