After 28 years, Brooklyn’s historic McCarren Pool reopens

June 28, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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By Mary Frost

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

WILLIAMSBURG — After 28 hot, dry years, McCarren Pool in Williamsburg — one of 11 super-sized Works Progress Administration pools built by Robert Moses in 1936 — reopened with a splash Thursday morning.

Holding more than a million gallons of water and with room for 1,500 bathers, the reconstruction of the pool and surrounding 35-acre McCarren Park brings to completion the re-opening of all 11 of the city’s grand municipal pools.

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“McCarren Park Pool has an illustrious past and a bright future,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The major investment we’ve made in this renovation will help return the pool and the park to their place at the center of community life for residents of Williamsburg and Greenpoint.”

With an official ribbon-cutting in the 90-degree heat, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe used the occasion to celebrate the beginning of the citywide outdoor pool season.

“Our outdoor pools are officially open for the summer and we are especially proud of our latest addition, the McCarren Pool and Play Center,” said Benepe. He credited the mayor’s commitment to the PlaNYC initiative for the reconstruction of the pool and recreation center, which he called a “$50 million amenity for Brooklyn residents.”

“I learned how to swim in this pool; now generations to come will have the same opportunity,” said Community Board 1 District Manager Gerald Esposito.

“I don’t want to go off the ‘deep end’ here, but we all know that Brooklyn ‘swims laps’ around everyone else and that our borough is the ‘coolest’ city on the planet according to GQ,” added Borough President Marty Markowitz.
Borough President Marty Markowitz at podium surrounded by (left to right) Community Board 1 District Manager Gerald Esposito; NYC Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Open Space Alliance Chair Steve Hindy and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Photo by Kathryn KirkClosed in 1984, McCarren Pool sat unused until the summer of 2005, when its empty basin was used as a venue for concerts, dances and movies. It was designated as a landmark in 2007.

The rehabilitation preserved the historic bathhouse building and entry arch and created a brand-new 37,571-square-foot swimming pool and recreation center. The pool area can accommodate an ice skating rink in the winter, and arts and music events will be returning to the Heineken Stage at McCarren Park now that the pool is open.

“McCarren is where monumentality meets community. It’s been an honor for us to bring this timeless facility into the 21st century,” said Jonathan Marvel of Rogers Marvel Architects.

Landmarks Preservation Commission Chairman Tierney said, “The restoration of the historic McCarren Pool complex was done to the highest preservation standards, and reflects New York City’s deep commitment to preserving its great public architecture for future generations.”

Parks is looking to receive a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver rating for the project, having used materials and construction methods that are ecologically sensitive.

The mayor made the announcement at McCarren Pool and Play Center near Lorimer Street and was also joined by Landmarks Preservation Commission Chairman Robert B. Tierney, Community Board 1 District Manager Gerald Esposito and Chairman of the Open Space Alliance Steve Hindy.

Starting June 28, all 55 outdoor public pools in the city are open to the public. Daily hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. (They will close on Labor Day – Monday, September 3.) Swimming lessons are offered at the pools, along with competitions and free lunch for kids through the SchoolFood program. See for more on city pools.

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