Women-only swim hours to remain at 2 NYC pools

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Women-only swim hours have been held at Met Rec Center in Williamsburg for 20 years and they'll continue although they'll be scaled back in what the city's Human Rights Commission says is a special exemption.

Assemblyman Dov Hikind and others representing the Hasidic Jewish community celebrated a decision by the commission to continue women-only swim hours at that public pool on Bedford Avenue and at the St. John's Rec Center in Crown Heights.

The special women-only swimming hours began decades ago to accommodate the heavily Orthodox Jewish community in the neighborhood.

But this may, other swimmers began to complain saying the policy violated a law that says that says people cannot be excluded from a public facility on the basis of their gender. That prompted a review by the Human Rights Commission, which on Wednesday agreed to issue an exception to the law saying: "everyone in New York City should have an equal opportunity to enjoy recreation centers... Maintaining limited women-only swim hours at these pools will allow all women and girls to enjoy the pool without being asked to compromise their religious beliefs or affiliations and will have a minimal impact on other community members' ability to access the pool."

The women's only swim hours will now be scaled back from 8 hours a week at the met pool to 2 hours on Wednesday and 2 hours on Sundays.

While some community members who had vocally opposed the separate swimming hours were pleased with the compromise, other swimmers say a public pool should be open and available to all at all times.

While the elected officials declared victory they say they'll fight to reinstate women's hours back to 8 hours a week from the 4 hours now allowed.