Well, it's official: the indie-rock utopia that was McCarren Park pool in the carefree summers of 2005-2008 is gone for good. In its place, the old municipal pool—first opened by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in the sweltering summer of 1936 (high temp 106)—has been restored to the former glory that Robert Moses intended. After falling into disrepair in the '80s and '90s, the pool was finally brought back to shimmering aquatic life today by the Parks Department and Bloomberg's PlaNYC initiative, to the tune of $50 million. Bloomberg was on hand for today's opening, during which he called the place "McClarren" no fewer than three times in a row, to the crowd's increasing scorn.
During the mayor's opening remarks, his mispronounced praise for the "McClarren" pool was met with ever-louder protestations from the crowd, who also took issue with Bloomberg's declaration that "Today we're going to make some waves in Williamsburg!" "GREENPOINT!" shouted others, like a pack of Gothamist commenters making a rare public appearance in broad daylight. Brooklyn border wars aside, the 37,571 square foot pool is sure to be welcomed by residents of both neighborhoods and beyond—even though it's a bit smaller than the original iteration, there's room in there for 1,500 bathers. At 11 a.m., there was already a line down the block.
Besides the massive pool, there's also an adjoining recreation center and fitness facility, with ping pong, treadmills, stationary bikes, upper body cardio equipment, board games, computers and more. There is also an outdoor volleyball court, but, sadly, no dodgeball. Daily hours of operation are 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., seven days a week. Starting July 5th, there's a free Lap Swim program for adults, which designates “Early Bird” lap swim hours from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and “Night Owl” lap-swim hours from 7:00 p.m. to dusk. And in the winter, officials promise there will be an ice rink! So maybe there's something for the hipsters after all.
Here's a tip sheet for how to best enjoy the city's public pool system, and here's video of the inaugural swim at
McClarren McCarren this morning.:
Update 3:06 p.m.: One would-be bather tells us, "We waited in line two separate times and never got in. Gonna try for the 4 p.m. session. No cellphones allowed!"