Would You Swim In The World’s Scariest Pool?

How far would you go to get a bird’s-eye city view while swimming? If you’re staying at the Holiday Inn Shanghai Pudong Kangqiao, you’ll get to take a dip in their glass-bottom pool, which appears to be suspended in mid-air as it partially hangs over a 24-story drop (shown above).

The adrenaline-pumping pool, which is the first of its kind in China, is 98 feet long and 20 feet wide. It was designed by Singaporean company Chan Sau Yan Associates.

“We wanted to provide our guests a unique swimming experience, and let them feel they’re vacationing even in a bustling city,” a spokesperson from InterContinental Hotels Group, parent company of Holiday Inn, told news.com.au.

So far, the guests seem to enjoy the feeling of being able to swim in the sky. Don’t worry, the bottom is made with toughened glass for added safety.

Would you swim in this pool?

[Image via InterContinental Hotels Group]

Archaeologists discover Roman swimming pool in Jerusalem

Roman soldiers liked a good swim, especially after a hard day’s work suppressing rebellions.

Archaeologists digging in Jerusalem have discovered the remains of a Roman swimming pool. Some roof tiles at the site bear the inscription “LEG X FR”, which stands for Tenth Legion Fretensis (“of the sea strait”, referring to one of the legion’s early victories). This legion was responsible for controlling Jerusalem. During the Jewish rebellion of 70 AD it besieged Jerusalem and destroyed the Jewish Temple, as seen here in an 1850 painting by David Roberts. During the bloody Bar Kokhba Rebellion of 135 AD the Roman legions were again kicked out of the city but were again able to recapture it.

The pools are more like large bathtubs lined with plaster. They’re part of a large complex of buildings housing pools and of course Roman baths. It’s not unusual for Roman military bases to have such luxuries, especially if the legion stayed put for any length of time.

The site is in Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter. One surprising find was a ceramic roof tile that a dog walked over while it was still wet. Check out this article for a photo. Tiles from the Roman baths in York, England, bear human footprints, some so clear you can see the nails used to attach the sole of the sandal to the upper.

Swimming pools coming to Park Avenue in NYC

Ever want to swim in a dumpster on Park Avenue? Now’s your chance.

Summers in New York City can be sweltering. “Hot town, summer in the city” and all that. So the New York city government has teamed up with Vamos Architects and Marco-Sea, producer of converted dumpsters, to offer swimming on one of the city’s grandest avenues. After the dumpster pools proved so popular in Brooklyn last year, they’ve made a comeback. Perhaps this is the start of a new tradition?

The pools will be open the first three Saturdays of August on Park Avenue between 40th and 41st St. Park Avenue will be closed to traffic, so you can swim in peace. The sponsors are reassuring the public that the dumpsters are clean, but having swum in enough public pools in New York, I can’t guarantee the water will be 100% urine free.

Photo courtesy Macro-Sea and Vamos Architects.

Coast Guard rescues unwitting drunk man one mile offshore, drifting on pool floatie

You heard right: The United States Coast Guard yesterday rescued a Florida man who got drunk, climbed into an inflatable swimming pool ring (the kind little kids use), passed out, and then drifted a mile offshore from Belleair Beach on the Gulf of Mexico. Fortunately, a concerned boater spotted what he thought was debris and came for a closer look, then called the Coast Guard to report what he thought was a dead body. Despite boat horns and loud shouting, the intoxicated man did not respond. Jerry Whipple, age 48, was both dazed and confused as the Coast Guard rescued him and transported him back to the nearest hospital for a closer look.

Mr. Whipple was later released, although he might still be charged with operating a seafaring craft while under the influence. That’s one small step for the Coast Guard . . . and one mile-wide leap for Florida.

Is the new Hotel Palomar the sign of a rooftop pool trend in Chicago?

Some cites get the rooftop pool concept right. Chicago is not the first place that would come to mind, but if we’re being honest, when summer descends on Chicago, it’s like God is smiling. Its winter weather gives the city a bad rap for the rest of the year, but outside of snow season, visitors to Chi-town could use the mercy of a cool dip.

Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar, which opened in March in River North, acknowledges the Illinois summer heat by opening a dedicated rooftop pool. Although the pool, located on a setback of the 17th floor of the 36-floor building, is enclosed for year-round use, it’s attached to an outdoor terrace, with views of the Wrigley Building and Marina City.

A few other Chicago hotels have rooftop pools — the ritzier Peninsula, nearby, comes to mind, which is telling since the Palomar’s designer, Orlando Diaz-Azcuy, also did the spa and pool of the Peninsula’s flagship property in Hong Kong. But for the past few years, it’s become the amenity du jour for newcomers such as the Affinia, the Avenue, and now, the Palomar.

On a recent Friday, I came back to the 261-room Palomar after a night of dinner and cocktails. The pool was undeservedly deserted. In Phoenix or Los Angeles, the pool deck is mobbed when the temperature goes above 80 degrees, and not always with inviting results. Not in Chicago. In Chicago, the pools are still mostly undiscovered, which makes this a sanctuary you can have to yourself.

While the moody Kokopeli-styled soundtrack might be cheesy by day, by night, as the clouds drifted across Lake Michigan, it made the lap pool feel more like a private spa — with the bonus backdrop of some of America’s most impressive skyscrapers.

Maybe visitors to Chicago still don’t think of it as a rooftop town unless there’s baseball involved. Let them bake on their boozy decks overlooking Wrigley. There are signs that a new kind of al fresco civilization is making inroads in Chicago’s summertime.