Today marks a week that the newly renovated McCarren Park Pool has been open and boy oh boy what a week it’s been. In response to the attacks on lifeguards, assault on police, and theft – not to mention the bad press – police have moved in with full force. A Walk in the Park reports that twenty officers were on site on Tuesday, as well as more park security personnel.
Despite Tuesday’s increased police presence, two more lockers were broken into that day. Tensions also flared when certain individuals were denied entry.
While we doubt the rocky start will mar the $50 million project, we can’t help but think back to the violence that caused the pool’s shutdown in 1984. Here’s how The New York Times described the site in 1990 after it had been closed for some years:
“Now it sits crumbling, a huge and lonely bulwark against the Manhattan skyline, devastated by neglect, vandals and drug addicts who regularly breach its walls since the pool was closed seven years ago…
Renovation was to have begun in 1984, but was halted by the objections of residents living near the pool, who wanted it closed for good. They contended that the pool had become overrun by thousands of teen-agers and had become a haven for drug dealers and prostitutes.”
There were also at least two drownings, one in 1969 and one in 1977.