Friday, May 30, 2008

McCarren Pool, Brooklyn, New York

After working like a dog for what seems like months straight, missing all of the photo Festival because of it, and enjoining Manchester United's glorious night in Europe for what seems like a week, I was more than happy to rise with the dawn to travel into neighboring Greenpoint, after been offered keys to the much maligned McCarren Pool .The pool opened in July 1936. One of 10 large city pools built by Robert Moses with federal Works Progress Administration funds, the six-acre pool could accommodate 6,800 swimmers and was said to have been among the largest public pools built at that time. The design, by Moses’ architect Aymar Embury II, features a striped arch, more than 38 feet high, that served as a bathhouse.
The other nine WPA pools still function, but McCarren closed in 1983 for renovation. Some residents, claiming it had become a magnet for raucous kids and illegal activities, opposed reopening it.
Now, 25 years later, it remains shut. It has been opening in the summer for concerts and movies but in a very indie sort of way for the past few years. In 2001, the city presented a $26 million plan for the pool but nothing ever came of it. “Right now, it is the city's most poignant ruin,” Francis Morrone wrote in the New York Sun last year. “For more than 20 years, it has been a monument to shame.” But word has it that the Dept of Parks along with A major architecture firm are restoring the grand old summer outlet to its former glory. A full six acres of urban aqua fun, and restoration of its magnificent diving pool. We will see. Personally it looks like there might be some sort of project here. Why? just because it deserves it. this ruinous version is part of its history also and quite beautiful in its own right. Here are some images, though the early morning light was brutally harsh and gave me nothing that I wanted.

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