Over the weekend, the New York Times editorial board published an unequivocally correct endorsement for swimmable public beaches off the coast of Manhattan. Thanks to a $12 billion investment in wastewater management, their argument goes, the borough's adjacent rivers are cleaner than they've been in a century. If lesser cities like Boston have undertaken steps to bring protected swimming areas to once-polluted waters, what's taking us so long? And also, have you ventured outside recently???

But when the newspaper asked the mayor's office about it, his camp seemed "wholly uninterested" in the refreshing proposal. "This is a fun idea that would cost millions of dollars we believe would be better allocated to initiatives aimed at lifting New Yorkers out of poverty and building a stronger and more resilient city in the face of climate change," Natalie Grybauskas, a spokesperson for Mayor de Rain-On-Our-Parade-io, said in a statement:

And yet, the sun-soaked dream that we helplessly sweaty and SUV-less New Yorkers might one day have a beach of our own—that we might merrily escape the effects of the Urban Heat Island without having to leave the island—remains very much alive. After taking flack for his downer of a response, de Blasio seemed to warm a bit to the idea on Monday, explaining to NY1's Errol Louis, "There’s a lot of great beaches, but for Manhattan, if we can find a way it would be really intriguing."

"It would take a ton of work," he added, inspiringly.

But just how much of a challenge would it really be? According to Ben Orlove, a senior research scientist at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society and a professor at the Columbia School of International Affairs, it's entirely possible that swimmable beaches could open off Manhattan "in the next 5 to 10 years, and perhaps sooner."

The main obstacle is our combined storm water and sewage system—the world's biggest!—which, after a bad storm, has an unfortunate tendency to empty millions of gallons of raw sewage into the East River, the Hudson River and New York Harbor. But that problem isn't relegated to Manhattan, Orlove notes; Orchard Beach, for example, often closes after a major storm, only to reopen to the public once the contamination passes.

"We can imagine beaches in Manhattan that would occasionally be closed but still provide the opportunity for people to enjoy themselves most of the time," Orlove told Gothamist. (Indeed, a part-time beach is better than no beach at all!) And the city is already taking necessary steps to reduce heavy sewage flow after a rain storm. "If a few of these sewer sheds become swimmable often enough for them to be opened, that in turn would create vast momentum," says Orlove.

Meanwhile, some groups—and brave swimmers—are making the case that the conditions are already right for dipping into the river. A project called + POOL has been working to raise money for a floating pool somewhere off the coast of Manhattan, which claims to filter the water below it, "making it possible for New Yorkers and its visitors to swim in clean river water."

A spokesperson for the group says they're in contact with the Mayor's Office, adding, "It’s all very feasible...the benefits of returning our city’s greatest public resource back to public recreational use are huge and we hope the electeds will work with us to make this a reality in the very near future."

Whether de Blasio green lights this specific public-private partnership, or throws his support behind a different future beach plan, is not our most pressing concern right now. At the moment, what really matters is that the mayor show his support for the concept as a whole, rather than dismissing it entirely, or playing up the hurdles.

"We never imagined that so many areas of our city would become free of dog waste or tobacco smoke, so let us now imagine that they could become free from of human waste," says Orlove. "I would love to walk down to Riverside Park and just jump in."