Thursday, April 19, 2007

McCarren Pool Update: Landmarking & Big Concerts

McCarren Pool Outside

The news about the Cat Powers show at McCarren Pool on July 7 and what it may mean is down below. (Yeah, we're burying our lead.) Meanwhile, there's an interesting letter in the Greenpoint Star from the President of Independent Friends of McCarren Park dealing with the background of landmarking efforts. (The Landmarks Preservation Commission still hasn't acted on landmarking the historic pool.) We found it thanks to a link at the Waterfront Alliance of Greenpoint & Williamsburg's blog. The letter was published late last week and makes some interesting points. It says, in part:
In 1990, a hearing was held where then City Councilman Age Gerges, Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, and Congressman Steve Solarz all testified against landmarking. The Commission sat on the issue until now. In the interim, the local community board has reaffirmed its stance to demolish the pool and make it 75 percent smaller. The Parks Department is going along with this.

Independent Friends of McCarren Park, Inc., has opposed Community Board 1 on this question consistently over the years. Tax money was spent in April of 2001 on a Vollmer Associates plan that essentially rubber-stamped what the Parks Department wanted.

We believe the acceptance of the Vollmer plan is incompatible with the whole concept of landmarking. It would be the equivalent of landmarking Grand Central Station, and then allowing a condominium to be constructed in the middle of it.

The local community board has tried to bamboozle the community and public officials by stating it is in favor of an Olympic-sized pool, but fails to mention that an Olympic-sized pool is only one-quarter of the size of the current McCarren Pool. We believe that the Vollmer plan means destruction of McCarren Pool, not its restoration...We have always believed that the underlying motivation to reduce the size of the pool has been to discourage the chartered buses coming into Greenpoint from Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant. The vandalism and petty crime complained about in the last years of McCarren Pool’s operation was tolerated while the population was white, but when it changed to black and the management of the Parks Department became more indifferent, the fate of the poll was endangered.
Always fun when the subject comes to McCarren Pool. Speaking of the Parks Department, it continues to operate out of public view and without public notice about its decisions about programming at the pool. This might not be of interest in many case, but in the case of McCarren Pool, its decisions have sparked a variety of protests in the community. There are groups, for instance, that oppose turning the pool over to promoters such as Live Nation for big ticket concerts and others that oppose big concerts at the pool because of the noise and disruption for neighbors.

Case in point: It appears there will be some big concerts at the pool this summer. The Parks Department hasn't announced this, but word is slowly leaking out about shows. For instance, Cat Power will play on July 7. A check of the Live Nation website didn't reveal any shows posted yet, but it continues to list McCarren Pool as a concert venue. It is safe to assume that the Parks Department has once again turned over use of McCarren to a private concert promoter--Live Nation?--for some big summer shows.

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