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We told ourselves we were going to take a break from posting horror stories about the McCarren Park Pool after it’s first week of long lines, fights, theft, increased police presence, and feces. But the pool made news again hours ago when the NYPD had to use pepper spray against bathers before shutting down the site.
The Daily News has video of the incident, but not a whole lot of details. Apparently around 6:15 p.m. unruly teens began forcing their way into the pool, which was at capacity. Both lifeguards and police tried to stop them, to no avail. That’s when things got ugly. A police officer may have tried to forcibly remove a teen, causing his cohorts to “come rushing in.” The cop responded with pepper spray.
Three arrests were made and the incident gets added to the list of reasons why no one is happy about this pool.
The Awl has a 6000 word piece on McCarren Park Pool:
The Post called the pool a “mini-war zone” and then questioned a policy of inspecting swimming trunks, local television stations called the pool “plagued by a wave of violence,” Gothamist pondered whether the facility was “doomed to repeat its infamous past,” and The New York Times shifted its coverage from enraptured nostalgia to tempered apprehension.
The Times quoted one pool neighbor, Miss Mousey Brown owner Meredith Chesney, who was frustrated that someone had defecated in front of her salon on Saturday morning. That story earned derision from Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan, who ridiculed the Times for conflating the pool’s opening with broader narratives about hipsters, race, and gentrification.
Bloomberg snapped at reporters who questioned him about the first incident that occurred on Friday. Benepe told the Daily News that a “couple of meatheads” were the cause of the brawls and the pool didn’t warrant extra security. He added, in an interview with WNYC’s Brian Lehrer, that “racial and economic tensions were not to blame” for the rash of violence, which consisted of “isolated incidents.
Today marks a week that the newly renovated McCarren Park Pool has been open and boy oh boy what a week it’s been. In response to the attacks on lifeguards, assault on police, and theft – not to mention the bad press – police have moved in with full force. A Walk in the Park reports that twenty officers were on site on Tuesday, as well as more park security personnel.
Despite Tuesday’s increased police presence, two more lockers were broken into that day. Tensions also flared when certain individuals were denied entry.
While we doubt the rocky start will mar the $50 million project, we can’t help but think back to the violence that caused the pool’s shutdown in 1984. Here’s how The New York Times described the site in 1990 after it had been closed for some years:
“Now it sits crumbling, a huge and lonely bulwark against the Manhattan skyline, devastated by neglect, vandals and drug addicts who regularly breach its walls since the pool was closed seven years ago…
Renovation was to have begun in 1984, but was halted by the objections of residents living near the pool, who wanted it closed for good. They contended that the pool had become overrun by thousands of teen-agers and had become a haven for drug dealers and prostitutes.”
There were also at least two drownings, one in 1969 and one in 1977.
On Sunday we told you about how the McCarren Park Pool was off to a rocky start, including an incident in which teens attacked a lifeguard who told them not to do backflips. Well it looks like that was only the beginning. Another fight went down yesterday and this time the NYPD was called in and two officers were sent to the hospital.
According to Gothamist, police responded to a call around 5:15 p.m because of another dispute between lifeguards and bathers over doing backflips. A brawl ensued and one officer got punched in the face and another injured his/her wrist.
Sources speculate that the M8-13 MS-13 gang may have been involved. The police arrested three people and charged them with assaulting an officer, disorderly conduct, and inciting to riot. According to city parks blog A Walk In The Park, there are just two police officers per shift for 1,500 swimmers. Four lockers were also broken into on Monday and at least one woman’s purse was stolen.
People, please follow the rules and be nice to the lifeguards. Or maybe just avoid the pool all together.
It’s been four days since the McCarren Park Pool’s big reopening and things have gotten off to a rough start. Thursday’s event featured a well-intentioned ceremony by Mayor Bloomberg, but he kept referring to the park as “McClarren” and only mentioned its location in Williamsburg, not Greenpoint. The pool should have opened at 11 a.m., but reports say it didn’t open until 1:30 p.m. Lines stretched forever and were excruciating because of the heat and small children.
Perhaps one could have expected Thursday’s opening to be chaotic with everyone wanting a piece of that first swim. But conditions on Friday grew even worse when teens attacked lifeguards over a dispute about doing back flips. The incident resulted in an early closure for the pool.
Things seem to have quieted down this weekend, but we’re guessing that once people see the rules for the pool (the same for public pools all over the city), they may think twice about going. Here are some of them:
-Only bathing suits can be worn on the pool deck (white tee shirts over suits are ok)
-No one with bandages is allowed in
-You must shower in the locker room before swimming
-No electronic equipment - including cell phones – is allowed on the pool deck (you must lock in a locker and bring your own lock)
If you’re ok with ditching the alcohol and iPhone for a few hours – which might not be the worst thing – check out our McCarren Park Pool site for more info.
A lot is changing in the neighborhood today – not only is the McCarren Park Pool open for business, but construction on the stage at Williamsburg Park is officially underway. Concert series organizers posted this photo to Facebook today. The space looks different than it did the last time we saw it, but still looks mostly like a parking lot.
Checkout our Williamsburg Park Concerts page for more info on this summer’s series.
The long-awaited reopening of McCarren Park pool has arrived. The 37,950-square-foot pool will be open daily 11am-3pm and then from 4pm-7pm.
Best of all, it’s FREE!
HOURS: 11am-3pm and 4pm-7pm
Today, the pool will be open from 2-3pm and the from 4-7pm.
For more information, visit mccarrenpark.com