Swimming in the Hudson


A beautiful chromolithographed advertising card for a commercial pool on the Hudson River very near Sybil’s Cave. River Walk is now Frank Sinatra Drive on our maps, but then it was a waterfront path that led from Hudson Square Park (now Stevens Park) north  to Elysian Fields. The view is not the Hudson River, but a sentimental artistic depiction of a river scene. A single bath was twenty-five cents for adults and fifteen cents for children under 15 years of age. Seems modest? But typical annual income in 1889 for most of the working class was only about $500 a year, circa $10 per week. And a work week for adults was usually six days and much more than just forty hours. Even though these baths opened at 5 A.M. and stayed open into the evenings until 9 P.M. (except Sunday), going to them would have been a luxury, both in time and expense. Would the baths have been intended for those with greater leisure or flexibility in work schedules? The card is in the Museum Collections, online catalog keywords: 2013.001.0066 or “Hudson Salt Water Swimming Baths”