Swimming in the East River could happen sooner than you think

Feb 4, 2020


On a warm July morning about 15 years ago, Ellen Weinberg climbed a metal fence in lower Manhattan wearing a bathing suit, goggles, and swim cap, walked up to the banks of the East River, and plunged in. About 30 minutes later, passersby on the Brooklyn side of the river, near what is now part of Brooklyn Bridge Park, gaped as Weinberg and four other swimmers emerged from the water.

“Everybody was looking at us like we were crazy,” says Weinberg, now 58. “It was so fun—I really felt like Kramer,” she says, referencing the Seinfeld episode where the kooky character, tired of overcrowded pools, goes for lengthy swims in the East River.

It may sound like a caper, but Weinberg’s dip was a permitted event: She and the other open-water swimmers were testing how difficult it was to cross the river, with its swift currents and changing tides. (A motorboat accompanied them for safety.) Weinberg has been in the river a few times since, and yes, she’s quite healthy.

Back To Top