It's Hot. Everyone in the Pool-But Not in Newark

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The gates to the city pools of Newark, N.J. were locked on Wednesday, despite another scorching summer day.

    And at a basketball court in the city's Branch Brook park, Raysean Bishop, 13, admitted "I would rather be in the swimming pool right now."

    Instead, he was taking a break from playing basketball as part of his Urban League summer day camp.

    Newark, suffering financially like so many other American cities, shut down its pools and recreation centers for a furlough day Wednesday in order to save money.  It will do the same thing again in two weeks.

    City Spokeswoman Esmeralda Cameron noted that it would have been worse if a benefactor hadn't stepped forward a week ago with a $150,000 donation that will keep the pools open most days, including weekends.

    But on days the city's Recreation Department has to take a furlough, the pools have to close too.

    "It's ridiculous," said Violet Little, 41, of Brooklyn, who took a vacation day to travel to Newark to visit her niece, and take a dip in the city's Rotunda pool on a hot summer day.

    Although notice of the furlough is posted outside gates to the pools, many didn't get the word until they showed up.

    That includes a street vendor who set up shop outside the Rotunda pool to sell goggles and other pool gear.

    She declined to give her name as she sat all alone under an umbrella to protect her from a hot sun and not a customer in sight.

    City Councilwoman Mildred Crump told NBCNewYork that she had a petition with two thousand signatures asking the city to keep the pools open.

    And Crump added she hopes to have a meeting "this week" with the city administration to try to find away to avoid the second furlough day, scheduled for August 25th.

    Follow Brian Thompson on Twitter @brian4NY