City’s Decades-Old Ban on Non-White Pool Attire Remains in Place

Posted on: July 20th, 2022 at 5:02 am by

Photo: Parks Department

Dozens of city pools are open to the public across the Five Boroughs as respite from the heat wave. Yet, don’t forget the persistence of a little-known rule against colorful attire.

“Feel the need to cover up from the sun? Throw on a plain white shirt or white hat, and you’re set. We don’t allow shirts with colors on them,” the city’s Parks Department website states.

The white-shirt rule has been in place for more than thirty years and was first introduced as an anti-gang measure. Allegedly in the wake of several violent pool-related incidents including a shooting at Highbridge Pool in Harlem in 1989 that left a 13-year-old girl dead.

Banning gang colors – the Bloods’ red, Crips’ blue, and the black-and-gold of the Latin Kings – purportedly limited potential conflicts.

And it doesn’t seem like the rule will be relaxed in the near future.

Parks Department had no comment, directing us to the website for more info.

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