Wednesday, February 06, 2008

McCarren Pool Plans Revealed: It Will Be a Huge Pool!

The rebuilt McCarren Pool will feature a huge swimming pool in summer and ice skating in winter, although this will be the last year for big concerts at the site. The details of the $50 million renovation were presented to a community meeting in Williamsburg. "I was very impressed at how sensitive they were to the historical aspect of the space," one person who has been involved in the redesign effort said.

We spent a lot of time yesterday trying to get our hands on renderings of the design put together for McCarren Pool by Rogers Marvel without any success because the Parks Department is declining to release them right now. So, all we can do until a photo of the plan surface or someone passes a rendering along is describe the plan. The new pool will be nearly 70 percent of the size of the old one, with the pool sort of wrapping around a concrete extension in a U-shape. What the architects called "the beach" will be surrounded by water on three sides. The designers apparently wanted to build a pool the same size as the vast one it would replace but were bound by cost constraints. The new pool would accommodate up to 1,700 people at a time. (The original was designed for 6,000 people by 1930s standard, but afforded very little personal space.) The diving pool, which was filled in, would be rebuilt and the long-term hope is that the wading pool would be recreated as well.

The entrance arch and kiosk would be restored. The building to the right of the entrance would be used for community spaces. The building to the left would workout facilities. The Parks Department would contract with an operator who would pay a fee to run an ice rink in winter. New changing facilities and rest rooms would be built. There might also be a cafe on the roof of the arch, if permission could be secured and funding for an elevator for access could be obtained. One thing that is missing from the new plan is a performance space, although the Parks Department indicated the space could be used during spring and fall when the pool and rink weren't in use.

In the meantime, the Open Space Alliance of North Brooklyn is looking into broadening programming at the pool this summer, including getting funding for a performance by the New York Philharmonic and some opera. The group is also exploring finding long-term space for large concerts elsewhere in Williamsburg. The most logical place would be somewhere on the waterfront, but such a venture would entail a lot of logistical issues. We received one email suggesting that the design "is poor master planning on the architects part" and that it "does not address future needs or purposes and will be obsolete by the time they’re finished." Most of the early reaction, however, was very positive. "It's pretty impressive," one observer said.

There will be another presentation about the plan to Community Board 1 on Wednesday, February 13th at 6:30PM. The meeting will take place at the Swinging Sixties Seniors Center, which is located at 211 Ainslie in Williamsburg.

[Please Note: the image above is not a rendering of the new design; it is something we created on a very hot day in the summer of 2006.]

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Anonymous eeeeeeeew said...

6000 people by 1930 standards...eeeew!

8:14 AM  

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