It's been less than a week since the newly renovated McCarren Park Pool re-opened to the public, but after some rowdy attacks on lifeguards and cops, it seems like the pool's already beginning a dramatic third act. And while area residents and merchants have said they're excited to see the pool brought back to life, many still remember the original facility's closure amidst violence and vandalism back in Bad Old 1984.
"It's unfortunate that there are a couple people, a couple bad tomatoes out there making trouble," an employee at Manhattan Ave sporting goods store BQ Sports told us yesterday (. "It makes it worse for the neighborhood. Back in the day, they had to close it down. I hope people realize if this continues, it's going to happen the same way it did in the '80s." She noted that the pool's re-opening had already given local business a boom—during our ten minutes in the store, at least five people came in to purchase mandatory locks for pool lockers. But the employee (who asked to remain anonymous) was concerned that the pool in its current state wouldn't be able to last. "I personally think it's a bad idea that it's free. If they charge, like, $5 or something, it'll help the city, help maintain the area, and help keep the bad apples out. I hope they don't close it down."
And she wasn't the only one who thought the McCarren Park Pool was going to need to change its ways. Cleo Videgain, a native Brooklynite who was waiting in line for entry to the pool this early this afternoon, told us she thought the Parks Department should have had more security at the facility to begin with. "Anytime you have something free and public, there will be an incident," she said. "This was shortsighted of them...They know this neighborhood."
But not everyone was so concerned about this week's incidents. "History repeats itself," an employee at Rachel's Garden, a deli on Nassau Ave, said of the violence. "But they're not going to close it. People complain a little because of the violence, but it's just in the beginning. We all think within two weeks, everything will settle down. Everything will be okay." He also pointed out that a lot of Greenpoint and Williamsburg residents who had been around during the pool's first wave of existence and subsequent closure had moved out of the area as the bars and JellyNYC pool parties moved in. "The rent is very, very expensive," he said. "People are going to Queens or Long Island."
Meanwhile, at 11 a.m. yesterday morning, the line for entry to the facility curved around the block, and the pool reached full capacity at 12:30 p.m. Parks Department officials were letting people in on a staggered, one-in-one-out basis, and reminded poolgoers to make sure they had good locks with them, since "too many lockers were broken into" earlier this week. Ah, summer in the city.