Neil Patrick Harris and Heineken want to swim in New York’s East River for latest Cities Project

As Kramer on Seinfeld proved a couple decades ago, swimming in New York City’s rivers can be a bit, well, challenging. Heineken, through its Cities Project, has teamed with Tribeca Studios and +Pool to show that a floating pool project in the East River is actually a great idea.

In a short documentary and 360-film project – Floating an Idea: The +Pool Story, voiced by actor and Heineken spokesman Neil Patrick Harris – the Cities Project lays out the argument that a floating pool which filters thousands of gallons of river water a day to make a swimmable pool everyone can enjoy is not only possible but is in the works.

The nine-minute documentary was created as part of The Cities Project by Heineken to raise awareness of +Pool and its latest fundraising push. Heineken brought on Tribeca Studios to produce the film, which was directed by Bianca Giaever of Missing Pieces.

Floating an Idea tells the inspiring story of the people who are working to make +Pool a reality. The film chronicles the history of New Yorkers interacting with their rivers, dating back to floating bathhouses in the early 1900s. Through interviews with +Pool founders and supporters such as Joshua David, co-founder of the High Line park concept, the film explains how a floating, Olympic-sized pool will filter out contaminants to create swimmable water and clean up to a half-million gallons of water each day.

The documentary aims to generate grassroots excitement around the project and encourage viewers to visit the project’s website to sign a free pledge to swim in +Pool when the project is complete. If 100,000 pledges are signed, Heineken will contribute an additional $100,000 to the project’s development.

The Cities Project by Heineken is a multi-year campaign that helps bring to life projects that make cities better. It is part of Heineken’s larger commitment to ‘Brewing a Better World,’ which aims to actively connect with and serve the communities in which Heineken does business or calls home. Previous projects include reviving Miami’s Marine Stadium through graffiti art and Leo Villareal’s ‘Bay Lights’ in San Francisco.

“The Cities Project by Heineken is all about raising awareness and providing support for innovative ideas for making great cities even greater,” said Raul Esquer, brand manager, Heineken USA. “This film not only shares the +Pool story in a new way in front of new audiences – it also showcases the many milestones that have already been reached, and what supporters can do to help get the project over the finish line.”

A separate 360° virtual reality film provides an immersive experience simulating what it will be like to swim in +Pool when the project is complete. Directed by Ray Tintori and Giaever of m ss ng p eces and produced by Tribeca Studios, the piece transports viewers to the finished pool, allowing them to walk on the deck, swim in the pool and marvel at the New York City and Brooklyn skylines.

“Things happen in this city with 1,000 signatures,” said +Pool co-founder Archie Lee Coates IV. “We’re trying to get 100,000 signatures to tell the city we want to swim in the river, and we want to do that with +Pool.”

Added Paula Weinstein, executive vice president of Tribeca Enterprises: “The short documentary and VR film bring + POOL’s remarkable story to life in new ways and raise awareness of how Heineken is helping + POOL reclaim the waters of New York City.”

The progress of +Pool's development can be followed at PlusPool.org, a newly designed website launched with support from Heineken.

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Kyle O'Brien

I am a reporter for The Drum covering a wide array of topics but always trying to tell the best stories possible. I am a former west coaster from California and Portland, Oregon, now living in Pennsylvania — with time spent in NYC each week.

I also play saxophone professionally.

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