McCarren Park Pool was supposed to reopen today at 1:30 p.m. after yesterday's "brown cloud" closure, but when the hour arrived patrons and their towels were sent packing. "The pool is closed for maintenance," a Parks Department employee told anyone who approached the main gate. "Come back at 4 p.m." But did everyone know why the maintenance was necessary? "Actually, we read about it on the bus ride over here," Vanessa Siveshi said. Her husband Stefan added, "I guess the doo doo was dirtier than we thought."
This reporter inquired about the status of the pool to one of the Parks employees at the gate, but before she could respond another employee several yards away pantomimed the act of writing in a notebook and shot her a knowing glance. "Thanks for looking out!" the first employee shouted, and she refused to respond to any questions.
McCarren Pool's director of operations, Jeff Sigadel, was more generous: "We're just trying to get the water chemistry right, then we'll reopen. Hopefully by 4 or 4:30." Sigadel added that the length of the closure—slightly over 24 hours—was typical for this type of incident. The pool officially closes at 7 p.m.
The Siveshis took a bus from Queens to see the pool because they heard that the $50 million renovations were impressive, but they didn't plan on swimming after hearing about the multiple incidences of violence and unsanitary conditions. "It's like we're incapable of having respect for something this nice," Stefan said. "We give it the same treatment as we do our buses or subway cars: we trash it."
Marilis Nieves and her three children came from Flatbush to take a dip—she too was unaware of the reasons for the pool's closure. "Really? Oh, no." Would she still swim with this knowledge? "If they clean it up, we'll go. And I guess that's what they're doing." Nieves and her children then took a seat on a nearby picnic table to wait it out.
Lauren and her boyfriend Xavier, who refused to give their last names because they would rather not be quoted in a story about bowel movements in a public pool, weren't aware of yesterday's incident either. "Why do we have these pooping problems?" Xavier, a Greenpoint resident, asked rhetorically. "I heard about the fights and stuff, but this?"
His girlfriend took it as an opportunity to prove a point to him: "I told you we need to go on vacation," Lauren said. "No matter where you think you're going here, you're still in New York."