Real Estate

Buying a pool during COVID-19 was impossible — but these New Yorkers did it

A model of this story ran within the New York Post print editions on July 16.

For Catherine Ebel and her household, theme park season passes are an annual custom.

But in early May, because the mom of 5 realized that summer season 2020 was going to be removed from typical as a result of coronavirus pandemic, she knew she wanted a back-up plan. So she began trying to find a swimming pool for the yard of their Somerset County, New Jersey, dwelling that might appease her youngsters, who vary in age from 5 to 19.

“We’re home with lots of kids and nowhere to go,” stated Ebel, 38. “So we thought this could be our theme park.”

Catherine Ebel finally scored a pool from a New Jersey Walmart for her five kids.
Catherine Ebel lastly scored a pool from a New Jersey Walmart for her 5 children.New York Post

But throughout the nation, different housebound sods had the identical thought, and swimming pools — blow-up, kiddie, hard-sided, pop-up — shortly bought out. Ebel began making a number of journeys a week to retailers throughout central New Jersey and at last discovered one which had been returned to Walmart. The 18-foot-wide, 4½-foot-deep Intex steel body pool would preserve her brood cool — and sane — via the most well liked months.

The craze even has New Yorkers with valuable outside area leaping via hoops to nab a coveted pool: Brooklyn blogger Noelle Downing bought a sizzling tub in March, a week earlier than the state’s stay-at-home order took impact.

Mary Fields, with daughter Lux, 5, drove 185 miles in search of a pool before nabbing a $700 Intex model on eBay because the pandemic shuttered their local lake.
Mary Fields, with daughter Lux, 5, drove 185 miles looking for a pool earlier than nabbing a $700 Intex mannequin on eBay as a result of the pandemic shuttered their native lake.Shannon Bayer

Mary Fields and her husband Pax skilled a comparable scramble when kitting out their Catskills retreat, the place they decamped when the pandemic hit. The Astoria, Queens, couple and their daughter spend the season there, by a personal lake within the Sullivan County hamlet of Smallwood, NY, but it was unclear if the lake would even be open for swimming.

They floated the concept of a pool in April, but by the point they determined to make the leap, they have been gone. “One day, I drove 185 miles around three counties visiting every single Target, Lowe’s, Walmart, pool supply store,” stated Fields, 41. “Nobody had any.”

Online, she discovered insane value hikes, with some sellers charging $1,000 for a pool that might sometimes price round half that. Then, simply earlier than Memorial Day weekend, the Fields discovered a package on eBay that included a 15-foot Intex pool, a ladder, a skimmer and a pump for $700 — transport included. “As we were deciding whether or not we should buy it, the number of people looking at just kept going up,” recollects Fields. “So we did it.”

After a supply mishap as a result of the truck driver couldn’t get down their tiny, winding street, the couple lastly introduced the pool dwelling. It took three adults an hour to construct, and 24 hours to fill. “We’ve used it every day since we put it up,” stated Fields, including that Lux, their 5-year-old daughter, by no means desires to get out. “This child will be in there until she turns blue.”

The Fields plan to place the pool up once more subsequent 12 months, even when there’s not a well being disaster protecting them from the lake. But they’ll have to stage the bottom first. “Our yard isn’t as flat as we thought it was,” stated Fields. “The pool has a bit of a dip and a lean.”

Wade for it: The Fields fam enjoys their backyard pool daily.
Wade for it: The Fields fam enjoys their yard pool every day.Shannon Bayer

Similarly, leveling the bottom for set up was the toughest a part of the method for Ebel. She and her husband, together with a couple buddies, did the work themselves over two weeks. “It was a way bigger project than we would have ever taken on in such a short period of time,” she stated, noting that whereas that they had thought-about a pool earlier than COVID-19 hit, it was not one thing that they had deliberate on doing during this time till they realized ongoing closures and social distancing necessities can be in place throughout summer season. “We needed this,” added Ebel.

Now, a month after bringing the pool dwelling, the yard is totally remodeled. Ebel and her husband added a gazebo on both sides, bamboo fencing for privateness, river rocks for adornment and string lights for night-time swimming. “It’s our little oasis,” she stated. “It gives the kids an outlet. It gives us a place to relax.”

Dad Mario and son Justin Truglio with their new hot tub.
Dad Mario and son Justin Truglio with their new sizzling tub.Andronika Zimmerman/NY Post

The Truglio household can relate. The pandemic introduced each Truglio youngsters — Justin, 24, a well being care guide, and Danielle, 25, a model advertising and marketing coordinator at NBC — from town again to their dad and mom’ place in Nassau County, and so they all wanted area to work and unwind. “This house doesn’t really accommodate four adults,” stated their mother, Danna. On prime of that, the household is forgoing their typical Westhampton rental as a result of coronavirus, so that they wished to show their dwelling into an escape. They centered on the yard, which already had a patio, a koi pond and a swinging bench.

Since March, they’ve added a sizzling tub and a massive sectional couch with a espresso desk, in addition to decorative seagrass and ocean rocks for a beachy vibe. “It’s our vacation home,” stated Danna, 61. Added dad Mario, 65, “We wanted our kids to be comfortable and give them options for places to work.” (Both dad and mom work as geriatric care managers.)

Justin takes full benefit of the recent tub — “I use it more than anyone by a long shot,” he stated — whereas each children usually have buddies over for socially distant hangs outdoors. “It creates some level of normalcy during this crazy time,” Danielle added.

Queens residents Gizelle Ferrer and Frank Villanueva, with pup Bubba, decorated the stock tank pool in their Ridgewood backyard for a long, hot quarantine summer.
Queens residents Gizelle Ferrer and Frank Villanueva, with pup Bubba, embellished the stock tank pool of their Ridgewood yard for a lengthy, sizzling quarantine summer season.Annie Wermiel/NY Post

For Gizelle Ferrer, extra downtime during quarantine meant time to good her yard in Ridgewood, Queens, the place she put in a stock tank soaking pool final summer season. This 12 months, with seaside journeys out of the query, she and her fireman husband Frank Villanueva, 42, are spending extra time of their 6-by-2½-foot steel tub, so that they gave it an improve, putting in a filter and a pump. They additionally ringed the highest with colourful noodles and embellished the surface with beer can labels from native breweries.

“Before summer even started, we spent a lot of time in the backyard,” stated Ferrer, a 41-year-old graphic designer. “We eat out there, and we’ll soak between working. My husband is an essential worker, so he’s on 24-hour shifts. When he comes home and it’s hot, he can just relax in the pool.”

Dunkin' go nuts: Downing enjoys a little poolside vino on her Brooklyn terrace.
Dunk ‘n’ go nuts: Downing enjoys a little poolside vino on her Brooklyn terrace.Brian Zak/NY Post

In Greenpoint, Downing, the blogger, has created a dreamy oasis on her 940-square-foot deck. She had a blow-up sizzling tub, but the pump froze and broke within the fall. Per week earlier than lockdown hit, she nabbed a $477 Helinski SaluSpa on Amazon. (It’s a lot pricier now.) She additionally had the foresight to purchase two seaside loungers on the similar time. “The timing was lucky,” stated Downing, 28. A fringed umbrella, new vegetation, a hammock and layered rugs full the beachy boho escape.

“I’m definitely using my outdoor space more,” Downing added. “It fills that vibe of wanting to go to a restaurant or bar. Instead, I’m just doing that on my terrace.”

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