Did we expect too much? Pinning so many hopes and dreams, desires and expectation on its chlorinated waters? After all, a pool, even a beautifully-restored, impossibly aquamarine beauty like McCarren is still only a pool.
After opening to almost universal acclaim and adoration last week, McCarren Pool’s reputation has plummeted rapidly in recent days, as the pool has been plagued by petty crimes and problems.
There have been thefts and fights and, sadly, the pool’s waters did not magically heal the rifts between Brooklyn residents of different classes, races and ethnic backgrounds, becoming “a place where the children of hipster artists, attracted by the upscale restoration with its designer flourishes, would play Marco Polo with youngsters from public housing,” as The New York Times put it.
Just a day after opening, teenagers doing backflips into the pool attacked the lifeguard who commanded them to stop and Parks Department closed the pool early.
On Monday, an unruly swimmer socked a cop who intervened when he and two other teens refused to listen to another lifeguard’s orders to stop running and diving into shallow water.
Then, on Tuesday, a thief broke into a locker and stole a woman’s purse, A Walk in The Park reported. It was one of four locker break-ins that day.
And several business owners nearthe pool told The Times that crowds of would-be swimmers, waiting in long, hot lines to enter the at-capacity pool, are messy and rude, leaving a trail of litter in their path.
The owner of a salon near the pool arrived Saturday morning to find three graffiti tags on her security gate.
“I thought, ‘O.K., it’s Brooklyn, it’s not that surprising,’ ” Meredith Chesney told The Times. “But then, 30 minutes later, I went outside to water my plants and I found someone had defecated right in front of the salon. It’s shocking.”
And while some fault the Parks Department for doing too little to deal with problems, others are unhappy with the extremes to which staff are going to keep the pool nice. The New York Post reports that security guards are peeking inside male swimmer’s trunks to make sure they’re not wearing any illicit underwear—supposedly banned because the dye could run in the pool.
Alas, most summer loves do not last, but maybe New Yorkers can build a friendship—based on mutual respect and a desire for refreshing recreation— with McCarren in the future?