As the last remnants of the old Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool came crashing down, Chuck, owner of the locally famous Chuck’s Coffee Shop, walked over to stand beside me and reminisce about his son, who used to play water polo there. We stood on a grassy mound sipping our coffees, chatting bittersweetly about Chuck’s “new” waterfront property, now complete with an ocean view, while several other locals arrived to take pictures, some peering over the chain link fence surrounding the demolition.
According to construction workers on site, after the highdive comes down today, the last two weeks will consist of ripping up the cement foundation. The highdive now stands as a solitary monument, a somewhat haunting memory of the brave souls who ventured over the natatorium’s highest platform to dive expertly (or clumsily) into the now-derelict, debris-filled swimming pool.
Goodbye, dear pool; we thousands who learned how to swim in your waters, and the countless outstanding athletes who swam through heart-wrenching losses and sweet victories between your once strong-standing walls, won’t soon forget you.
“It’s a money pit now,” exclaimed one local, “let’s throw a $104 million in it!”