The Parks Department announced this week that it planned to end a policy of setting aside four hours a week for a “Women’s Swim” at a public pool in Williamsburg, ending a decade-long accommodation for the neighborhood’s Orthodox Jewish women.
But the agency suddenly backed down Thursday after the women protested, elected officials got involved and The Post inquired about the new policy.
For almost a decade, Hasidic women have been allowed to swim in modest privacy at the Metropolitan Pool on Bedford Avenue.
But this week, officials told the swim-dress-clad bathers that as of June 11, men would no longer be excluded.
Somebody had complained leaving the Orthodox swimmers fearful they’d be left high and dry.
“This week, my sister came home from the pool and said there’s a panic coming on they want to cut off the women from the pool,” one of the swimmers, a mother of 10 who asked to be identified only by her first name, Lee, told The Post Thursday.
“The pool is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.,” she said. “You can’t tell me that the men don’t have enough hours in the day to swim, that they have to interfere with these women?”
Earlier this year, a nameless whistleblower’s discrimination complaint — that men were being barred from the pool on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 9:15 to 10:45 a.m. went all the way up to the city Commission on Human Rights.
The commission informed the Parks Department that a single-gender swim violates city human-rights regulations.
A pool official gave the “women’s only” swimmers the bad news Monday, and they reached out immediately to local politicians and community leaders.
Assemblyman Dov Hikind says he called the Parks Department and confirmed that the single-gender accommodation was about to end.
Thursday morning, he blasted out a press release condemning the decision.
When The Post reached Parks officials later Thursday, a spokeswoman claimed the schedule change was issued “in error” and that the matter is still under review.
“Now they’re saying this was a boo-boo?” an incredulous Hikind said Thursday afternoon.