Waterfront: January 2006 - In Seine ; Grills Gone Wild!; Walk It Off

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In Seine

Floating swimming pool opens on famed Paris river.

Last summer, Parisians and tourists got the chance to swim in — or on — the Seine for the first time in 13 years. A new floating swimming pool opened in July in the city, moored on the Left Bank of the river. The new Piscine Josephine Baker, named for the American expatriate dancer and actress, will be open yearround with its retractable roof, and replaces the Piscine Deligny, which sank in 1993. That pool had been in use since 1924, when it was used in the Olympic games.

The pool is housed in a steel, wood and glass barge, built in the French city of Rouen and towed up the river. The complex houses a main pool, 25 meters long and 10 meters wide, a children's pool, sauna, hot tub, solarium and bar. The pool will be regularly filled and refilled directly from the Seine, with the water being treated once for swimmers and again before it is returned to the river, to protect the Seine fish from the perils of tanning lotion and chemicals. 

Grills Gone Wild!

The sky's the limit for high-end grills.

AQUA readers are very familiar with the latest backyard trends, so nobody needs to tell them what's cooking in the way of barbecue grills: They're bigger, brawnier and more beautiful than ever. But an article in the New York Times earlier this year brought that message to the masses. Or at least the masses that read. (OK, so it wasn't on the cover of People , but still.)

The article, "Pimp My Grill," looked at several models, from the fairly familiar (Viking, Weber) to the fantastic, and painted a picture of an industry that's testing customer limits in terms of cooking power and purchase power.

One grill, referred to in the article as "the Queen Mary 2 of outdoor cooking," costs an eye-popping $35,000. The Talos Outdoor Cooking Suite (shown) features a hardwood cutting board, two side burners, 3 . 8 -inch cooking grates, 16,000 BTU of heating power, and a restaurant-style griddle. Sounds cool enough. But $35,000 worth of cool?

These supergrills are becoming status symbols for a certain type of customer, primarily males, according to Pantelis A. Georgiadis, owner of Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet, makers of a 154,000-BTU grill that'll set you back a comparatively modest $11,000.

"There is a market segment we call the 'man cook with fire' types," he told The Times.

Pick Your Battles

This pool faux pas was not worth pulling out the big guns.

No one likes stains in their pools, but most will not risk jail time to prevent them. However, last May a 22-year-old man in British Columbia, yelled at and then pulled a handgun on a roofing crew when debris from a nearby roofing job landed in his swimming pool.

According to the Surrey Leader , the man, who had no criminal record, did not fire the gun and faced charges of pointing a firearm and uttering threats. Sounds like he could use a hot tub next to that pool for some stress relief.

Walk It Off

Florida business challenges employees to walk for diabetes cure.

We hear a lot about kids today and how they're not as active as they used to be. Instead of climbing trees, playing kickball, or swimming, they're busy updating their MySpace profiles, IM-ing, or killing zombies on their XBoxes. (Dang kids! Why in my day, ah forget it.)

These same sedentary schoolchildren are also eating more chips and drinking more soda than previous generations ever did, and it's leading to what the American Academy of Pediatrics calls an epidemic of childhood obesity. Among the dangers associated with childhood obesity is diabetes, which is the nation's 5th deadliest disease, according to the American Diabetes Association.

People in the pool industry do their part daily to get kids and their parents outside and active, but David Doebler, president of Leisure Bay Industries, is doing even more.

Since 1995, his company has donated more than $750,000 to the American Diabetes Association's "America's Walk For Diabetes," and this year he's upping the ante by asking his 800 employees to raise $150,000 for the cause. In addition, he's pledging to match 75 percent of donations made by the Orlando, Fla., business community, up to $150,000.

"His support should be a call to action to all businesses and individuals to show their commitment, no matter how large or small, in finding a cure for diabetes," says Jeff Patterson, Leadership Council president of the Central Florida ADA.

To find out how you can help in your area, visit the ADA's Web site, diabetes.org.

The Outdoor Shower

The art of the al fresco shower.

Long a staple of seaside homes where they help keep sand at bay, outdoor showers are showing up farther and farther from the beach.

If you consider it for a moment, it just makes sense that someone who enjoys soaking in hot water outdoors would probably also enjoy a hot shower outdoors. So it's no surprise that, as the outdoor living trend continues to grow and mature, outdoor showers have become a must-have amenity for many. The Outdoor Shower, by Ethan Fierro, will feed the fire by giving customers great ideas and builders a few tips on how to make those ideas work.

Aimed primarily at the consumer and the do-it-yourselfer, this book covers plumbing and siting basics, materials and a broad variety of outdoor shower configurations, from permanent to temporary, enclosed to open-air, and even has a selection of plans for fantasy outdoor showers. (The tree house model is pretty cool.) A chapter on planning and design, a resources section and a useful index round out this volume. Plentiful and good photography makes this book useful even if you don't read a word of it.

If you haven't already installed one, it's probably just a matter of time before a customer asks about it. This book will help them describe what they want and help you figure out how to best build it.

Summer In The City

Exhibition highlights construction of NYC pools McCarren Pool Astoria Pool.

The summer of 2006 was undoubtedly a hot one, with much of the country drenched in red in the USA Today 's weather maps. Cast your thoughts back to 1936, though, to an era with — gasp — no central air, and few private swimming pools to offer sweltering citizens relief. Temperatures in New York City hit 106 degrees that July, according to The New York Times , and though they had been under construction for some time, it was during that scorching summer that 11 new public swimming pools were opened in the city, under the auspices of mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and parks commissioner Robert Moses.

Starting in late June of that year, the city opened one pool per week in each of the five boroughs, financed by the federal depression-era Works Progress Administration. The pools' early days are documented in "Splash! A 70th Anniversary Celebration of New York City's WPA-Era Pools," an exhibition held last summer at the Arsenal Gallery in Central Park. Vintage and contemporary photographs, historic films and architectural renderings illustrated the pools' size and importance to a city still in the throes of the Depression.

According to the Parks Department, the massive pools combined could, and often did, accommodate more than 43,000 bathers. They were also examples of state-of-the-art engineering and design, with massive filtration systems, heating units and underwater lighting. The pools were built mainly of inexpensive brick, concrete and cast stone, but the styles ranged from Romanesque Revival to Art Deco. Though not the city's first outdoor pools, they were — and some still are — the city's largest and most luxurious. All but one of the pools is still in use today in its original capacity. The only pool not used for swimming, the McCarren Pool in Brooklyn, has found new life as a venue for concerts, dance performances and film screenings.

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