The Cypress Pool

This page is dedicated to Cynthia Rongione (Bernstein) and her dad Marcello Rongione. Cynthia's family contributed the great shots you see here on the site. I am still researching the history of the pool, when it was built, who owned it, officially when it closed, etc. The pool and the roller rink were apparently part of the same project. The first Certificate of Occupancy for the rink and the pool was issued January 25, 1929. Occupancy was limited to 1400. In 1946 a CO was issued increasing capacity to 2100. In 1956 a CO was issued to apparently convert the rink into a manufacturing facility for vacuum cleaner bags.

Cypress Pool Layout
This schematic was based on a hand drawing provided by Tim O'Reilly, based on his memories of the pool from the 1960s. We welcome additions, correction, etc. The Florist, Werner and Acker, is still in business though it has moved a block away.We've just heard from Andrew Kouroupos whose grandfather owned the diner and confirmed the name was "Teddy's". Ken Bausert noted that based on the photos below, the 2- and 5- foot boards should be reversed; the 2-footer was closer to Jamaica Avenue.

Click picture to enlarge
Cypress Pool Ad
The rates charged by the pool can be see in this ad from the 1935 Lincoln Log.
Cypress Pool, 1930s
This shot come from Jack Auld and dates to the 1930s. He identifies Fred Harh as second from the left. The view is west towards the diving board.
Cypress Pool, 1937
Big thanks to Laura Orem for these early shots. Laura's dad Joe Pinto is on the left in that first shot, and those are woolen swimsuits they rented. (See the above ad). Check out the guy wearing dress shoes! Note the swingset and tower; Lawrence Pinto, Laura's brother, confirmed the tower was for the slide that used to sit on the south side of the pool. The view is north towards Jamaica Ave.
Cypress Pool, 1940s
Joey 'Roni' Perrone sent this 'mystery' shot which I believe I have identified as a view East, toward Hemlock Street. I used the pictures above to identify the tower, and the building in the distance at the top left is still there. Roni IDs his father JuJu in the middle and his aunt Jay to the left, so we appoximate this was taken in the 1940s.
Cypress Pool, 1947

It turns out Hank Rich's recollection is correct. Joe Sadauskas sends over a shot circa 1947 looking west towards the deep end. You can see the tower and ladders for the 20 foot diving board. That's Joe in the foreground stepping out of the pool. Jerry O'Shaughnessy contacted me and told me they even had two platforms above the 20 foot board, splayed out in a "V" pattern, to avoid the 20 foot board. Pete Bleigner recalls; "We use to go up to the EL to watch Superman jump from the third level dive with his cape on fire. WOW"
Cypress Pool, 1947

Joe also supplied proof that those lions were around a long time; that's him by one of the lions circa 1947.
Cypress Pool, 1961-62

My favorite shot of the entire site. Not only is the diver (Cynthia's dad Marcello) frozen, but everything is frozen in time here; the spectators, the people watching on the Cypress Hills train station (a view blocked in later years), even the greenery along Jamaica Ave.
View Looking East
This view is towards the shallow end, with Cynthia and her mother. Having only been to the pool only once or twice, I did not recognize the streams of water coming from the right. Tony Davenport and Tim O'Reilly confirmed there were fountains shaped like lion's heads recirculating water back into the pool.
Cypress Pool Lions, 1983
Peter Stango comes through with this 1983 shot of the lion head fountain at work.
Lifeguards, 1960
Lynda Maggiore-Durand sent over these shots from 1960. "Buddy" Pfeiffer (someone check my spelling!) seen on the left, was the head lifeguard for years. Lynda IDs Bob Woods (thank you Cathy Nonnenmann for the surname) on the right.
Cypress Pool, 1961-62

Another view towards the southeast corner; confirming my memory that is was always crowded!
Cypress Pool Diving Board
The pool had 3 diving boards located on the western side (Crescent). A 2 footer, a 5 footer, and a 10 footer. Note the 'safety' bar encircling the deep end. Looks pretty high to me. Hank Rich recalls the pool had a 20 foot diving board back in the 1940s.(see below). Pete Murray, a former lifeguard at the pool, recalls a tall slide located near the 6 foot section of the pool on the south side.
Diving Boards, Cypress Pool

Not to be outdone, Cynthia's mom takes a crack from the high board.You can see blurred images of divers taking off from the 2 and 5 footers.
Cypress Pool, view south

This view south gives a glimpse of the houses along Hemlock Street. The pool had an odd configuration that wrapped around these houses as seen in the schematic. Tim O'Reilly recalls that at some point there were some green plastic type barriers installed along the pool fence seperating the pool property from these houses; presumably for privacy?
Cypress Pool vending machines
Tim believes these machines faced south, towards the patio area. My mother used to go to the pool in the 1940s and recalled a big jukebox that was always blaring the latest hits. We believe it was located by the patio area but we have not uncovered any photographs yet of that area. Old buddy Dom Most adds a funny story about those machines.

Ken Bausert adds;"I remember that the walls of the showers were made of sheet metal, probably galvanized, and that the only thing separating the men's and ladies' showers was this sheet metal partition. There had apparently been soap dishes or something else attached to the wall at one time and, when I used to go there in the 1960s, there were a few holes in that metal partition that the guys used to look through to get a peek at the women on the other side. Perhaps the girls were doing the same thing from their side."
Public School 7

Sadly, I have to finish with a shot of the Public School that now sits where the pool existed. Tim recalls that the pool went private in the early 1970s And that was it for those who could not afford the membership fees. It appears the pool operated as a private club for a number of years as I have discovered a CO for 1977 and Dept of Buildings paperwork in 1985 and 1991 for the pool, making specific reference to the locker rooms. The school was constructed in 1998.
Cypress Pool CO, 1929

I believe this is the original Certificate of occupancy which dates the pools opening. Note the reference to "bathhouse"
Cypress Rink CO, 1929

The same date, the rink CO is issued to the Cypress Pool Company.
Cypress Pool CO, 1945

An updated CO, for increased capacity. What is interesting is that on this CO there is the notation "Bath houses in residential zone to be discontinued". I'm looking for some background on that.