An article in the Daily News this morning reports that kids in four working class neighborhoods in New York City will not be able to swim in their local city pools this summer. Though some fifty other city pools will be opened, these four -- one each in Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens and Manhattan -- will not be opened due to the budget crunch and this will save the city $800,000.
How much use do the four pools in question get, you may wonder. According to the article, the total number of visitors last year was about 100,000 people and by my rough calculation, that's 1,300 per day. Quite a few sweaty folks on a hot, muggy summer afternoon.
While I'm sure there are those who would suggest that charging admission to cover the costs would be viable, $8 a day per person is a bit steep. So, instead, let me propose another alternative. First, we'll ignore the fact that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is the eighth richest person in the world, with a personal fortune of $18 billion, and could foot the bill without blinking an eye.
Let's instead turn to some of the highest-paid people working in the City, the New York Yankees. If just the eight highest-paid members of the team -- Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Mark Texiera, CC Sabathia, Jorge Posada, AJ Burnett, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera -- kicked in $100,000 each (a drop in the bucket when you consider what they are paid each season), the four pools could be opened.
Imagine the good will they could generate, especially in light of another story in the paper about the outrageous processing and courtesy fees baseball fans paid (on top of the already-exorbitant ticket prices) to attend the games between the Yankees and the Mets this weekend.
The article also reports that city will save another $600,000 by ending the swimming "season" two weeks early, closing the remaining fifty pools on August 22nd. Maybe they've read something in The Farmer's Almanac that leads them to believe otherwise, but in all my years living in the NY Metro area, it's always remained pretty hot right through the end of August and into the Labor Day weekend.
But we won't ask the Yankees to foot that additional cost. There is, after all, another highly-paid team across town and it would only require the six highest-paid Mets to cover it.