Memories of St. George Hotel Pool

b8_1_b.JPG

The Brooklyn Eagle has a wonderful story this week about the glory days of the St. George Hotel, most notably its salt water pool.  The piece was written by Dr. Howard B. Moshman, a long time resident and neighborhood dentist.

111606134047.jpgBrooklyn Daily Eagle: How It Was…: The huge hotel pool varied in depth from 3 feet to 10 feet, with a waterfall at the shallow end, three diving boards at the deep end, a 10-foot-high board in the center, and low boards on either side of it. The St. George pool was the place to go in the winter, when Coney Island and its adjacent beaches appealed only to members of the Polar Bear Club.

My trips to the indoor pool were generally with my childhood pal Malvin Guralnick. I would walk north on Henry Street where I lived at number 309, to Pineapple Street, then east over to Fulton Street. Malvin lived in one of early nineteenth century storefront buildings on the west side of the street, above his parents’ stationery/candy shop. In the 1960s that whole area was razed and supplanted by the Cadman Plaza housing development, and the street renamed Cadman Plaza West.

Be Sociable, Share!

,

  • http://www.twofones.com twofones

    My grandfather used to tell me about this pool. It was apparently the largest salt water pool in the country and was a massive luxury. It was frequented by Naval Captains who were stationed at nearby bases (and at the Brooklyn Navy Yard right down the road.) I’ve seen amazing pictures of the St. George at it’s majesty filled with society swells in their white tie. Makes its current state all the more depressing…

    Bw, Stanley Moshman, Howard’s son, continues to practice dentistry in the Heights and is fantastic. In case you’re in the market.

  • Poppa Fink

    When I was 13 or 14 yrs old, (about a hundred years ago) a nickel subway ride from Queens, and a dime admission to the pool, got us in to the St. George Hotel pool for a whole day of swimming in salt water, and a workout with excercise bikes, dumbells, speed bags, and a lot of fancy moves to avoid hungry eyes that thought 13 yr old boys were pretty hot stuff.
    By the way….am I the only one who remembers that there was a radio jingle advertising the Hotel?

  • http://annulla.blogspot.com annulla

    Thanks for posting this. So many of my relatives of “a certain age” have sighed about that pool and told me about the dances they attended there during WWII. I’ll be sure to pick up a copy of the Eagle and pass it along to them.

  • Lisa

    Thanks for memory.What a beautiful memory.My sister took me to this pool when I was a little girl back in the 60′s..

  • Joe Jones

    During the 1946 & 1947 baseball seasons the Brooklyn Dodgers used the St George as their resident hotel. My mother worked in the lingerie shop in the lobby and I got to meet all of the boys of summer

  • Anthony Nuccio

    What was the Hotel’s jingle???

  • Robert Gustafson

    In the 1950′s I saw a movie on television that mentioned the St George Hotel and I believe showed its swimming pool. I recall that Shelly Winters was in the film. Does anyone know the name of that movie?

  • http://www.TheStGeorgeTower.2ya.com The St George Dragon Slayer

    Having read some of the comments about the St George in it’s hey day, I thought I’d invite everyone to come see the many photos I’ve collected of the hotel. Go here: http://www.TheStGeorgeTower.2ya.com and subscribe to this experimental website designed to collect the oral histories of those who remember a different time in New York, a time when this once grand dame played a very central role in many people’s lives. It wasn’t just the pool, it was also the social events that were held here, and the glamour of the Jazz Age.

    Perhaps you have a senior relative who remembers when the Tower first opened and enjoyed one of the many themed restaurants here. Or, maybe it is one of your early childhood memories? Maybe you stayed at The St George Tower when you visited New York as a teen? Tell us about that visit! Was it during a one of the two worlds fairs? Or maybe it was during WWll? Was it your prom? Did you get married or spend your honeymoon here? Do you have photos or clippings from events that changed your life? Maybe you heard one of our presidents speak. So much shared history happened here.

    We are archiving those memories to be searchable on the web for generations to come!

    Imagine one day receiving an email from a long lost friend who joined this site who was there… someone who remembers the same event you do! The St George has been a central part of New Yorks social and political life since the first section of the hotel was opened more that 100 years ago.

    Don’t forget, the stories and photos of the early years of the St George Tower, especially the 1930s, are eagerly sought. If you need any help emailing these images to StGeorgeTower_photos@mac.com, simply send a request for technical assistance to the same address. A technical expert will contact you to help you get those images out to the rest of us and to add them to the permanent collection, along with whatever memory is attached.

    Best,
    The St George Dragon Slayer
    The St George Tower Archive Experiment

  • James S. Breslau

    I grew up in Brooklyn Heights. The promenade had not yet been completed when I first moved to my new home. The Brooklyn docks were old and beautiful made of wood and accomodating the train barges. The New York skyline was much shorter and sparser than it it is today. I went to Plymouth Church Nursery School then Brooklyn Friends School. Everything was Brooklyn Heights for me including the Hotel St. George. I loved that pool and the excellent old time gym. I most remember the amazing waterfalls (ceiling to pool) at he far and deep end of the pool. The entire pool could be iewed from several tiers/balconies. The water was always comfortable and clean. What a magnificent indoor playground for a young kid growing up in Brooklyn. Now even though I lived only a few short blocks away from the St. George, cousins and friends could join me from all over the city by jumping on the subway and getting off at the Clark Street Station of the IRT and Taking the elevator all the way up to the Hotel above at ground level. What a wonderful time and place…

  • Ron Brown

    My parents and I stayed at the St. George hotel when visiting (from DC) my grandparents in Brownsville, Brooklyn in the 1950′s. The first several times they took me, I wasn’t tall enough to go in the adult pool. You had to be taller than the brass hand rail at the shallow end of the pool. When I got to be six or seven, I finally grew tall enough to make it in.

  • http://NONE dwight martin

    Jamie –

    EMail me. Wigmar47@gmail.com

    You should be able to tell who I am (ex-BFS student) from the email address.

  • Rose (Haddad)

    Oh what memories! I used to go to the St George pool every Saturday. I was in walking distance from the hotel and had my first crush on a boy who was visiting from Georgia. I enjoyed the pool from the time I was 12 until I was 17. My friends and I would swim all day and dive off the low boards. It was so much fun swimming under the waterfalls! There will never be another hotel like that! It was magnificent!

  • Tony Dolecek

    I remember my father taking me to St. George’s pool about once a month, when he could save some extra money, take the train from the Bronx and have a wonder evening swimming in the most beautiful I have ever seen. He would rent a locker, towels, and wool bathing suits for booth of us. this was in the late 40′s. What memories.

  • Jan

    My Grandmother lived in the residence hotel and we visited her every few years. I loved the subway just below the hotel and the salt water swimming pool – it was just great! Does anyone know – what happened to the swimming pool?

  • BP

    It’s still there. I guess it would be underneath the former basketball court and smaller chlorine pool in the gym. I’ve seen the underside of the western end of it. I was surprised that it’s not set in the ground, rather it’s on columns, at least the part that I could see.
    I would have thought that it was filled in with cement, but my understanding is that it is just empty and perhaps still capable of holding water.

  • jay dworkin

    when did the pool actually close?.. i went on a date with a girl who turned out to be my wife for the last 50 years. anyone know?

    thx

  • Henry

    grew up in the Heights in late 50′s and 60′s. Learned how to swim in that incredible art deco splendor. It even had a waterfall at the shallow end that ran from time to time. Still remember my first dive off the highest of the three diving boards. I believe thr story is they found natural salt water spring when digging the foundation and/or the IRT tunnel beneath. Too bad it was not well preserved.

  • Pingback: Brooklyn Heights Blog » Heights History: St. George Resident Looks to its Past

  • benita berman

    I visited the St. George Hotel pool this weekend. It’s now Eastern Sports. “There are remnants of the original pool. There’s a small pool that was created out of the original large famous pool. The tile work around the edges remains intact as well as signage on the walls. The rest of the pool is now a work-out room, but they retained the green art deco columns as well as several mosaics scattered around the space. Most notably, there is a large mosaic art work that was retained when the smaller pool was constructed out of the original ( the original clock is still up on the wall above it ). This mosaic was well known and possibly was under the waterfall at the shallow end of the pool. It has a crack in it, and the managing company has decided to destroy it, since they deem it “unsightly”. This is an historic landmark or Brooklyn Heights and the old hotel and I was wondering if it could be saved – possibly moved to another location in the heights. Perhaps Brooklyn Historical Society or Brooklyn Heights Association could be made aware of this. The renovation of the Eastern Sports pool is scheduled for April 9th so there isn’t a lot of time to try to save this mosaic. I have a photo of it, which I can post tomorrow.

  • Maryann McHugh Feeney

    I grew up in the 1950s with two friends who were sisters who were twleve months apart in age and my birthday was exactly in the middle of theirs.
    On Saturdays, their father would take them to the dentist whose office was across the street from the St. George Hotel.
    We were always together, and I got to go along to the dentist because after the appointment, their father took all three of us to the St. George pool. It was magical. The best feature was the waterfall in the shallow end. I have fond memories of these visits to the pool, especially since I didn’t have to go to the dentist.

  • nabeguy

    I bet you the dentist was the father of Dr. Steven Markow, who was my dentist in the 60′s and I believe is still practicing in the same office.

  • http://BrooklynHeightsBlog Wm Fitzpatrick

    Re Memories of Hotel St George Pool
    Many Happy memories.My Wife and I grew up in the neighborhood,attended Assumption Church and School, were
    married in the Assumption Church. Until she passed away in 02 we always went back to visit. I now bring my family back to
    visit that beautiful neighborhood. We attended a St Patrick`s/
    St Josephs Party there on March 7th of this year.
    Would your records indicate the year that the Pool Photo was
    taken and the name of the Gal in the swimsuit?
    My Wife was employed for several years in the Hotel St George.

  • Joan Pennock Craig

    I grew up on Brooklyn Heights and during my teen years from 1933 to 1938 I used to swim in the St. George pool on Saturdays when they had a special including lunch in the coffee shop. I well remember checking out the pool first from the balcony and then the great womens changing room with its row of hair driers–I also recall the wonderful heat lamps that were on either side of the pool that warrmed you and helped dry you off after your swim. Also great fun were the steam room, the hot room, and the gymnasium that you could use and accessed from the dressisng rooms.

  • Diana

    Wm. fitzpatrick, what year did you graduate from Assumption School. I also went there, Lived on Clark St where my mom still lives..
    Dr. Markow was my families dentist, Always love going home and my eyes search the faces trying to find someone from my youth.. but still expect to find them looking as they did back them.. I just recently scanned all those little photos that we made in the machines at the entrance to the pool..

  • benita berman

    Reply to Diana. I graduated from PS8 which I think was down the street from Assumption School. Our group was very friendly with a girl who went to Assumption. I lived on Clark Street at 95, which was destroyed for urban renewal in he early sixties. All our friends swam often at the St. George. One of our group lived in the hotel. If we didn’t go swimming we observed the pool from the Observation Room off the balcony, which gave a great view of the entire pool with the diving boards at the other end. Does anyone else remember the observation room? It was lined with signed photos of movie stars and celebrities of the day. I was there two weeks ago and took pictures of the pool as it is today, You can see them on the St. George Tower site mentioned in one of the comments above. Most notably, the destroyed (last week) mosaic. Also, does anyone have any memories of the St. George Playhouse, he movie theatre on Pineapple St.?

  • nabeguy

    I have a vague memory of seeing the THE ALAMO at the St George Playhouse, which may have been the last movie it showed. Also remember sneaking in there after it was shut down and seeing spools of tickets all over the place and being both in awe and dread of the emptiness of the place.
    Question to Assumption graduates: did any of you attend the school when the Peaks building was still producing candy? A friend that I grew up with in the 60′s who attended Assumption told me stories of when his mother went there and that the factory workers would throw candy into the yard to the children.

  • nabeguy

    BTW Benita, where was 95 Clark in relation to Monroe Place? I have a slide of a photo that my father took from Monroe towards Clark Street in 1961 that shows 3 houses on Clark (two private and one apartment building) as well as the church on the corner. I’ll see if I can get it scanned and posted here.

  • bornhere

    When I try to conjure the St George Playhouse, I think of lots of red (paint? fabric?) in the smallish lobby (although I can remember perfectly where the ticket window was) and a matron with a flashlight, always patrolling the kids’ section.
    Nabeguy — I must have been a total space cadet in the early 60s, because I can only vaguely remember Peaks (I did not go to Assumption). Part of the explanation may be that it was such a remote area (then), that there would be no real reason to scope it out; but I do remember the big garage on the east side of Henry north of Orange, because that was where my dad parked his car. Amazing elevators, especially for a kid.
    Please post the pictures of Clark, if you can. Both sides of Clark, from Henry to “Fulton,” were so neat back then.

  • benita berman

    To Nabeguy – that would be fantastic if you could send that picture. That’s exactly where 95 Clark Street was, along with 97 which was owned by my grandmother. 97 was directly across from Monroe looking at Clark and 95 was on it’s left. I have been looking for pictures for years so would love to see your father’s. I use images of the Heights in my artwork so would love to see any that anyone has. I remember the matron at the St. George Playhouse watching over the children’s section. She wore a white uniform. Also the candy counter and the ticket seller’s booth. I have a picture from a book of old theatres that someone sent me from the St. George Tower site, I can post it – it was a great old Art Deco theatre that went to the wrecking ball at the same time as 95 and 97 Clark. My grandmother also owned 81 Pierrepont Street, which is of course still standing, but I’m looking for old pictures of it. Also Henry Street down to the candy factory, which is where I turned left to go to PS8. One of my best friend’s father owned a drug store and they lived in the building above – I think on the corner of Orange. Her name was Judy Fuchs. Thanks much.

  • nabeguy

    Benita, that is such a coincidence that you mention the Parrish Pharmacy, as I was just thinking about that last night. Growing up, my mother never referred to it by its proper name, simply calling it Fuch’s, as in “go to Fuch’s and get me some aspirin”. It wasn’t until years later when I looked over the deed to our house that I discovered that my father has bought it from Judy Fuch’s grandmother, Sophie Fuchs, who had been running it as a boarding house.