Everybody into the pool (not you, kid)
A splashy Northern Liberties swim club has set itself apart by banning anyone under 21.
June 08, 2011|By Gregory Thomas, Inquirer Staff Writer
You can get fined for wading in Philadelphia's waterways. Driving to and from the Shore on a weeknight is a lesson in traffic patience. Public pools close at 7 p.m., and two of the city's long-standing swim clubs have waiting lists years long. How much would you pay for a daily dip on these hot summer nights?
A pair of entrepreneurs in Northern Liberties are betting you'll fork over $1,000. That's the price for a season membership at Arrow Swim Club, the city's newest oasis, located across the street from the Piazza at Schmidts in the former site of Arrow Screw & Machine Works.
Taking its cues more from lavish hotel resorts and country clubs than from traditional swim clubs, Bart Blatstein's newest addition to Northern Liberties distinguishes itself from Lombard Swim Club in Center City, University City Swim Club, and virtually every other private pool in the city by banning kids.
"It's kind of, the Hamptons meets Miami meets Scottsdale, Ariz.," said Jacklin Rhoads, an account executive at Cashman and Associates, during a tour of the club. Nicole Cashman, president and CEO of the public relations agency, is a partner with Blatstein.
"We wanted to do something unique," said Cashman. "We don't want it to be like the others."
Conventional swim clubs tend to emphasize swimming first and leisure second. "We're all about the water," said Nancy Drye, membership coordinator for University City, which has four pools and serves 450 families. Swimming lessons for kids, water aerobics for grandparents, lap lanes, kiddie pools - these are elements you won't find at the Northern Liberties pool.
Arrow, which has filled about half its 1,000 membership slots since opening May 15, is more about lifestyle than freestyle. The emblematic sounds of the swimming pool are replaced by the pop music arrangements of various guest DJs who spin from a makeshift booth in the club's corner. The 4½-foot-deep pool is the centerpiece of the facility, but really it's just one of the leisure features.