UPTOWN — Montrose Harbor was a much quieter scene Friday morning than it has been all summer.
Friday Morning Swim Club called off official meetups for the rest of the summer, due to “complex communication that’s happening between the Chicago Park District and the city,” organizers Andrew Glatt and Nicole Novotny announced on Instagram this week.
With official events canceled, thousands of swimmers who typically fill the North Side harbor stayed home. The usual chatter was replaced by the echo of helicopter rudders overhead. A small, newly installed “No Swimming” sign from the Chicago Park District stood directly on the path to the Swim Club’s meeting point.
Between 20 and 30 swimmers who showed up around 7 a.m. Friday to brave the choppy waves and brisk morning temperatures were still sporting floaties — which are prohibited by the Park District.
“We just came to see the sad part,” said Steve and Rose, Uptown residents who came to see the turnout. “It was such a positive vibe, friendly and a way to spread love, but now it’s wrecked.”
The move to cancel the season’s swims followed an unofficial meetup last week that drew roughly 250 swimmers, police officers and Park District representatives handing out fliers instructing people not to enter the water.
Stanley Adams has brought his young daughter to Friday Morning Swim Club almost every week this summer, accompanied at times by his friends. He questioned the city’s efforts in shutting down an event that made people happy and offered an easy fix.
“They say the issue is because there are no lifeguards patrolling the area,” said Adams, an Andersonville resident. “Well, then put a lifeguard here — end of story.”
The Park District did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A few first-time Friday Swim Clubbers who did not provide their names said they had this Friday marked in the calendars for weeks.
“We saw the announcement earlier this week, and decided we’re coming anyway,” they said. “We weighed through every option and thought the police probably have bigger fish to fry than to stop people from swimming.”
Music still blasted from speakers and the few groups of swimmers who were there joined in singing “Happy Birthday” for one swimmer.
Meanwhile, two attendees carrying flamingo and unicorn floaties lined up at the harbor ledge and started their own impromptu countdown to jump in.
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