Yesterday police pepper-sprayed McCarren Pool visitors and made three arrests, but the bedlam wasn't limited to the pool itself. According to Williamsburg resident Nick Gallo, who took the above photograph, the chaos in the pool spilled out onto Lorimer Street as police sirens blared from 12 squad cars. "There was a huge crowd," Gallo says, adding that the police frantically exited their vehicles. "One [cop] even dropped his walkie-talkie."
By the time Gallo got to the pool, he saw two men in handcuffs, who were screaming. "I think one had been maced," he recalled. "He was yelling how his eyes hurt. A cop kept yelling, 'You're just going to make it worse!'" There was also a large group of girls, apparently the arrestees' friends, who looked "upset and worried." The police arrested three men—ages 23 and 24—who were hit with charges like obstruction of governmental administration, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.
The pool's reopening after a $50 million renovation took place just three weeks ago; the day after it opened, lifeguards were attacked (for prohibiting backflips); a police officer was attacked; and lockers were broken into. Today, the NYC Mayor's Office Tweeted, ICYMI: Denis Hamill visited McCarren Park on Friday. He found a "summer oasis of peace and calm": http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brook …"
Gallo lives a block from the pool—he can hear the pool's whistles from his apartment—and swims laps during the pool's morning "early bird" hours. His experiences in the past 20 days of the pool's renwed existence have been good, but his girlfriend wasn't able to swim the day someone pooped in the pool. He has noticed that the pool's reopening means there are "more kids hanging around."
"I like the pool," Gallo said, but it'd be "fine just to have concerts at the pool again." He added that his stepmother lived in the neighborhood when the pool closed in 1984, "She said no one went there when it was open because it was bad. It was trouble."