McCarren Park

The Daily Plant : Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Mayor Bloomberg Cuts Ribbon On $50 Million Renovation Of Mccarren Pool And Play Center In Williamsburg And Opens City Pools For The Summer Season

Photo by Daniel Avila

McCarren Park Pool Originally Opened by Robert Moses in 1936, Closed in 1984 and Reopened as Event Venue in 2005

Fulfills PlaNYC Goal of Transforming Eight Regional Parks

All 55 Outdoor Pools Open Today Through Labor Day

On Thursday, June 28, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe celebrated the beginning of the citywide outdoor pool season and the opening of the newly renovated McCarren Pool & Play Center, the first of eight PlaNYC regional park projects to be completed. Located within the 35-acre McCarren Park, McCarren Pool was one of 11 pools opened by Robert Moses in 1936. It closed in 1984 and sat unused until the summer of 2005, when the empty pool basin opened as a venue for concerts, dance, and movies. It was designated as a landmark in 2007. For the first time in 28 years, McCarren Pool is now once again a center for recreation for the residents of northern Brooklyn. With McCarren Pool’s reconstruction, all 11 of New York City’s original Works Progress Administration-era pools have now been re-opened. The Mayor made the announcement at McCarren Pool & Play Center near Lorimer Street and was also joined by Landmarks Preservation Commission Chairman Robert B. Tierney, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Jonathan Marvel of Rogers Marvel Architects, Community Board 1 District Manager Gerald Esposito and Chairman of the Open Space Alliance Steve Hindy.

“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.”

“The reopening of McCarren Pool is a welcome addition to the City’s recreation centers,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “Now, New Yorkers will have a new place to splish, splash and beat the heat this summer at Brooklyn’s newest, hippest pool.”

“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 Parks Commissioner Benepe. “Thanks to Mayor Bloomberg’s continued commitment to NYC parks and unprecedented PlaNYC initiative, we were able to reconstruct this historic WPA pool and center, a newly renovated, $50 million amenity for Brooklyn residents. It will provide free summer fun for the entire family, and year-round access to a health and fitness facility.”

The rehabilitation of McCarren Pool preserves the historic bathhouse building and entry arch and creates a brand new swimming pool and recreation center. McCarren Pool is 37,571 square feet, which allows for 1,500 bathers, and holds 1,057,914 gallons of water in its new configuration. The pool area can accommodate an ice skating rink in the winter, and arts and music events will be returning to McCarren now that the pool is open. McCarren Play Center is the 33rd recreation center in the City. Joining a Parks’ recreation center gives New Yorkers access to a network of facilities in all five boroughs, including indoor pools, running tracks and fitness rooms, for 41 cents a day for adults.

“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,” said Borough President Marty Markowitz. “And Brooklyn just got a whole lot cooler—literally—with the re-opening of McCarren Park Pool. Kudos to Mayor Bloomberg, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey and former Commissioner Julius Spiegel, Community Board 1, Open Space Alliance Executive Director Stephanie Thayer and Chair Steve Hindy, and everyone involved with renovating McCarren Pool in Brooklyn’s hippest neighborhood—Williamsburg—and giving Brooklynites another magnificent facility where they can be ‘cool at the pool.’”

“McCarren is where monumentality meets community. It’s been an honor for us to bring this timeless facility into the 21st Century. Along with the ‘beach’ and recycled Coney Island Boardwalk, hopefully the sculptural cast concrete pavilions will be added to the Parks Department lexicon,” said Jonathan Marvel of Rogers Marvel Architects. “A lot of attention has been paid to the pool, with understandable reason, but we are particularly proud of creating a year-round recreational facility that is adaptive and flexible to the changing needs of the Williamsburg/Greenpoint community. As architects, it is our goal to contribute spaces that inspire community involvement and face-time with each other, and we aspire for McCarren Pool and Play Center to do just that.”

“Growing up and living in Greenpoint/Williamsburg has always been a cool experience! 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.

“We are very grateful to Mayor Bloomberg and the Parks Department for this incredible renovation of McCarren Park Pool,” said Chairman of the Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn, Steve Hindy. “This will become a gem and centerpiece for North Brooklyn.”

“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,” said Landmarks Preservation Commission Chairman Tierney.

Parks is looking to receive a LEED Silver rating for the project, having used materials and construction methods that are ecologically sensitive. The pool has two disabled accessibility compliant lifts and one sloped entry. Inside the recreation center, all bathrooms and rooms are accessible and fitness equipment that allows for people who use assistive mobility devices has also been installed, as well as upper body cardio equipment.

Starting Thursday, all 55 outdoor public pools in the City are open to the public. As is the case each year, they will close on Labor Day – Monday, September 3. Daily hours of operation are 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., seven days a week.

Parks & Recreation offers children Learn to Swim, a free program at select pools, as well as the opportunity to join a swim team and train for the City’s annual Five-Borough Championship swimming competition to be held on August 11. Learn to Swim is also offered to adults at 8 outdoor pools. Beginning on July 5, Parks will be offering, for the 30th year, a free Lap Swim program for adults, which designates “Early Bird” lap swim hours from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and “Night Owl” lap-swim hours from 7:00 p.m. to dusk at selected pool locations.

NYC pools are also among the many locations across the City where kids 18 and under can receive free, nutritious meals throughout the summer provided by the USDA through SchoolFood and the New York City Department of Education.

For additional information on swimming opportunities and recreation membership at Parks, please visit

Directions to McCarren Park

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