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Women-Only Swim at Metropolitan Pool Violates Human Rights Law, City Says

By Gwynne Hogan | May 27, 2016 3:48pm
 An all-women swim at a Williamsburg pool is in violation of the city's human rights law.
An all-women swim at a Williamsburg pool is in violation of the city's human rights law.
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WILLIAMSBURG — A women-only swim time at a North Brooklyn public pool that caters to the neighborhood's orthodox Jewish community may have to be altered because it violates Human Rights law, a Parks Department spokesman said.

Seth Hoy, a spokesman for the city's Human Rights Commission said they are "working with the Parks Department to review their pool policies."

The Parks Department quietly tried to do away with the all-women swim earlier this week, telling patrons at The Metropolitan Recreation Center that the time would end in June, according to Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who was contacted by a group of Orthodox Jewish women who frequent the pool.

"A number of women from the Williamsburg community called my office basically very, very upset," Hikand said. "The lifeguards told them that the program having women only…they were closing the program."

Sam Biederman, a spokesman for the Parks Department said that the change in schedule was an error and that all-women swim was still in place at the pool at 261 Bedford Ave.

However he confirmed that the Parks Department had received notice that they were in violation of the city's Human Rights Law, which prevents discrimination by gender in public buildings, Biederman said.

"No rule change has taken place," Biederman said. "The separate-gender swimming hours remain in effect at Metropolitan Pool."

Kings County Politics first reported on the issue at the Metropolitan Pool. 

For about two hours three days a week, women from the Hasidic community have relied on Metropolitan Pool's women-only swim hours for recreation and exercise, Hikind said.

“They are people who take modesty very seriously, If a man were to suddenly come in, forget it," Hikind said. "The whole idea of being culturally sensitive to other people’s differences. That’s what we’re all about. That’s what being progressive is."

"Why deprive this group of women, hundreds of women who come during the course of the week?”