2006_05_beach.jpgOoh, could it be - a beach along the Hudson River? State officials and environmental groups are interested in creating a beach on the West Side, near the Meatpacking District, with the idea that people would actually swim in the Hudson. Currently, there's a sanitation depot where the trucks rae parked. One person was skeptical, telling the AP, "Haven't they found bodies out here? Who would jump in there?" Well, that's the East River, but, yes, the same sentiment probably persists in many NYers' minds. The director of the Metroplitan Waterfront Alliance, Carter Craft, counters, "I'll swim in the Hudson now. It's safe if you know what you're doing." And how do you do that? From the AP:

Advocates warn that swimmers must stay out of the river for several days after rainfall -- when the city's drainage system dumps raw sewage directly into the Hudson. Within a three-minute walk from the proposed Hudson River Park beach site, muddy discharge is visible around one of the pipes.

Craft and other advocates say the sewage isn't usually a problem and any future beach could simply be closed after storms. But city regulations are more stringent, requiring that beaches be at least 500 feet from overflow pipes. One rule prohibits any beach along Manhattan's West side.

Maybe it's more of a beach we just admire and build sandcastles in. But the Hudson River Park Trust includes the beach in its proposals for the area.

Christopher Swain swam 315 miles of the Hudson two years ago. And every year, the Manhattan Island Foundation holds a 28.5 mile swim around Manhattan - this year's swim in on June 24.

Photograph of the Rockaways from tobyleah on Flickr