Celebrated Swimming Pool: On View (Again)

Visitors to the Queen Mary can now see, though not enter, the First Class Swimming Pool.

'Tis the centerpoint of the traditional summer season, that (maybe) languid, (fingers crossed) stretch of relaxation that toodles, without care (if we're lucky), from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend.

True, summer itself is just about a third done, but the idea of summer is halfway to over in 2017, which leads many of us to thinking the sorts of swimming-pool-esque thoughts one naturally thinks in these balmier days.

But there are a few famous pools most people will never swim in, though love them, for many reasons, we do. Think of the spectacular Neptune Pool, at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, which has been undergoing major renovations for the last several months.

Even when there's water in it, it is not for public splashing, only for public admiring. Sigh.

The mere chance to admire a treasured spot, though, counts for a lot. The Queen Mary's First Class Swimming Pool has been closed to the public for over a year, due to "structural issues," but thanks to some craftily placed Lexan resin visitors can now see the swanky Art Deco swimming hole again.

This means that while you cannot step inside the pool area, you can peek at it through the handsome set of doors at its entry. And if you're concerned that the Lexan replaced historic details on the doors, it did not; the panels that were removed were "non-original."

A recent "Fix It Friday" post from Urban Commons, the leaseholder on the Long Beach landmark, revealed that "the challenges facing the pool are complex, and, although we have some very well-respected engineering talent working on the problem, we cannot yet allow visitors to walk on the pool's decks."

But much can be viewed through the R Deck doors, including the clock (it still works) and the exquisite, mother-of-pearl ceiling. Outside of the doors? There's new canopy-lining lettering, making it clear to those wandering the ship in search of the famous feature. 

Yep, it now says: Swimming Pool. That's crystal clear.

The hope is that the pool can one day return to the ocean-liner's tour schedule with the help of some diligent engineering know-how. If you were on a Queen Mary ghost tour in the past, you may recall that the First Class Swimming Pool has long been fabled to be one of the most haunted spots on the forever-moored ship.

Yep, it was long a popular tour stop, for both phantom fans and recreation lovers alike.

So, here's the truth of it: Taking a dip at Hearst Castle's Neptune Pool? Or the Queen Mary's First Class Swimming Pool? Not a possibility. But viewing both, in all of their decades-old, tales-to-tell glory?

Go for it, pool-loving mavens of California.

Best of all, perhaps, is that these two closed-for-swimming spaces are open for admiring throughout the year, and not just at summer's highest point.

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