‘What Happened to Being ‘Culturally Sensitive?’

‘It’s preposterous to think that the City could even consider this to be discriminatory’

Brooklyn, NY, May 26, 2016 … Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) slammed a citywide decision to close separate gender swimming hours at the Metropolitan Pool and Recreation Center in Williamsburg, arguing that the separate hours are about being more sensitive to different cultures and religions.

After receiving numerous complaints, Assemblyman Hikind’s office confirmed that the center, located at 261 Bedford Avenue, is discontinuing the separate swimming hours program, which has been in place for many years. Hikind spoke with several women in the community, who voiced their concern and disappointment about the program’s closing, effective June 11, 2016.   

“What happened to being culturally sensitive?” Assemblyman Hikind said. “I thought we were in the midst of a ‘Progressive Era,’ where we do everything we can to be more accepting of cultural differences.”

Hikind added, “It’s preposterous that the city could even consider this to be ‘discriminatory,’” It just boggles my mind how we continue to be so insensitive when it comes to respecting other cultures.”

As a sign of modesty, many throughout the Jewish community abide by a restriction that men and women swim separately. As it now stands, the program allows women to swim privately from 9:15 a.m. — 10:45 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, which now will be cancelled.

“In no way is this program for separate gender swimming meant to be discriminatory,” Hikind concluded. “Anyone, regardless of their race or religion, is more than welcome to take advantage of the facility’s services. We call upon the City and the Parks Department to reverse this decision and ensure the continuation of this program.”



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