Everyone Into The Pool!

It’s something I’ve noticed on my daily bike rides around town: Lots of people are building swimming pools.

Ginia Bellafante noticed it too. The New York Times‘ “Big City” columnist jumps in to the phenomenon in a story for this Sunday’s edition.

With camps closed, and many people realizing they’re not going anywhere for summer vacation, the itch to swim has skyrocketed.

After noting the beach turf wars between cities and suburbs, Bellafante turns trenchantly toward pools.

Throughout Westport, backyard pools are already open.

You know what’s coming.

Midway through the story, she writes:

Traveling farther down the coast to Westport, Conn. — Cheever country — the pool obsession is no less frenetic. If you want a pool in Westport, you need a permit from the town’s building department. The number of requests has jumped this year, with 10 coming in just the past two weeks. Michele Onoforio, who works in the department, found herself really taken aback when she got three separate calls about aboveground pools recently.

Were people really that desperate? “I hadn’t seen one of these requests in 10 years,’’ she said. “I didn’t even know the protocol.’’ An aboveground pool in Westport is like a bag of Sun Chips on a table at Per Se.

Westport is one of many aesthetically pleasing places where affluent New Yorkers fleeing the infection have decamped. Some have chosen to move permanently. “The New Yorkers all want pools, and the inventory is very low,’’ Suzanne Sholes, a real estate agent in town told me. The houses that have them receive multiple offers both on the rental and sales sides despite the catastrophes afflicting the economy.

Just thing, for New Yorkers looking to leave the city.

To the rest of the country, Westport is now the town with a super-spreading party, drones that almost picked out social distance cheaters, and now a swimming pool shortage.

Something to think about, as you lounge by the water this holiday weekend.

(To read the entire Times column, click here.)

11 responses to “Everyone Into The Pool!

  1. Hi Dan, great topic- funny in a beach town to have so many pools😄 FYI I’m unable to access the whole article w/o a subscription to the NYT according to link I’m getting back from them. Thanks!

  2. Ali Stanley

    I found your derogatory comments regarding above ground pools absolutely offensive! Likening their appearance to sun chips at per se is elitist, insensitive and down right rude. It is this kind of attitude that gives Westport and its people a bad name. I recognize that Westport is far from the most diversE town when it comes to race or socioeconomic status, but it is absolutely shameful for anyone to pass judgement on another.

    • Jake Roscoe

      You realize Dan is just quoting the NYT article, right? He’s not actually expressing his opinion on above ground pools. Perhaps you should reach out to the author of the NYT article, Ginia Bellafante, and let her know how you feel?

    • Kevin Ferrara

      Found the above ground pool lobbyist.

  3. Don Willmott

    To echo what Warren Buffett once said about boats:
    “I don’t want a pool. I want a friend with a pool.”

    • Bill Strittmatter

      Assuming you are practicing proper social distancing, don’t you need your own these days?

      • Elizabeth Thibault

        Technically yes. Of if everyone has their own “Bubble” like practiced very successfully in New Zealand.
        Expensive toys are expensive.

  4. Alison Shiboski

    Haaaaa! Come out to Eugene, we love our SunChips, too!!!!

    Sent from my iPad


  5. Angela Ryan

    I found the line about a bag of SunChips on the table at Per Se hysterical. I know I can’t credit Dan with the line though.

  6. Dr Frank E. Accardi

    The NYT columnist’s Cheever country comment is what happens when ersatz education trumps experience.
    It is so very easy to fall back on empty stereotypes.
    Lucky to live here and know it.
    Frank Accardi

  7. Samuel Wang

    To each his or her own in their backyards but just wish the town would give us neighbors a heads up how long these pool constructions go on once they approve them. Two nearby neighbors building pools while we are all doing our best in quarantine to work and school remotely is very disruptive without knowing how long it will last. Just would like transparency, please.