For three years rock ’n’ roll has had a great summer romance at McCarren Park Pool in Brooklyn.
Instant I-was-there concerts in the big, empty pool basin by M.I.A., Blonde Redhead and TV on the Radio. Packed free shows on blazing Sunday afternoons. The thrift-store couture, the human mural of tattoos, piercings, sunburns and hair dye. Every other midriff drenched from a Pete Rose dive down the Slip ’N Slide.
Like every sweet summer fling, though, this one is destined to end. According to a city plan, McCarren, on the border between Williamsburg and Greenpoint, will soon quit its current state — a combination performance space, hula hoop and dodge-ball playground, alt-fashion catwalk and reclaimed ruin — and revert to its original purpose as a public swimming pool.
Built by Robert Moses in 1936 with money from the Works Progress Administration, the 50,000-square-foot pool fell into decrepit condition and was closed in 1984, its steep brick archway a gravestone to the fun once had there. Now, after two decades of political stalemate, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has pledged $50 million to its renovation. The plan is to go before the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission this month; if approved, shovels could be in the ground by spring, and the new pool could open in 2011. The last scheduled concert is Sonic Youth on Aug. 30.
“It was a good run,” said Emmy Tiderington, a 27-year-old Williamsburger with a tattoo snaking down her right shoulder. “Nothing lasts,” she added.
I know many are lamenting the impending absence of a place for adults to use a Slip in Slide or hide a decomposing corpse but look on the bright side. On a hot summer day what would rather have: a nice dip in a pool or Feist? Either way you can still to do a couple of bumps at Enid's afterwards.