Passaic River Swimming

by Jack Keegan


During the hot days of summer in the 30s, we spent many of them enjoying the water of the river. We usually dove or jumped off the docks near the end of Brill Street. It was great to cool off that way.

When a tug pulling a barge came up or down the river, one of the things we did was to swim out. Get about 20 or 30 feet behind the barge, there a wave was formed by the water swirling around and under the barge. And you were able to surf the wave. At one point you cut out and swam back to shore.

Many youngsters learned to swim there. No one, to my knowledge, ever contracted a disease by using the river for swimming. None of us were aware that the City Health Dept, prohibited swimming in the river in 1936. We continued to use it to our great advantage.


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