Will Williamsburg Get an Outdoor Venue After McCarren Pool?
There's another showing of the plans for McCarren Pool tonight (and, hopefully, the Parks Department and the architects will also soon release some high-quality renderings of its plans so that everyone in Brooklyn can see them).
As we noted last week, McCarren Pool is being returned to service as a pool, so the days of concerts there (except for some smaller performances, perhaps, in spring and fall) will come to an end after this summer. While surveys that were filled out about the pool showed support for concerts there in the future, there was strong support within the community itself for McCarren being turned back into a pool. Swimming and big concerts can be somewhat incompatible uses of a such a facility. The Parks Department believes that a disproportionate number were filled out at, well, concerts at the pool, overstating support for shows. In the words of a Parks Department official, "In interpreting the survey data, we did look at where the surveys were collected and from whom, demographically; since many surveys were completed at concerts and online, younger, more mobile and affluent folks were represented more than poorer, older ones."
Meanwhile, the Open Space Alliance and officials are looking for another place to hold big outdoor concerts in Williamsburg and/or Greenpoint. The most likely spot would seem to be connected to future waterfront parkland in or somewhere near the Bushwick Inlet Park, yet any park is likely to be years in the future as land acquisition could involve eminent domain, court fights and years of environmental cleanup, particularly the land where oil storage and production has taken place.
In any case, here's an email from Alexander Kane of JELLY NYC, which has produced the free concert series at McCarren Pool for the last two summers. It is circulating via the Pool Aid email list:
JELLYNYC is in FULL support of the renovation of the pool but does find the process a bit baffling with regards to how Parks and designers decided not to pay any attention to the surveys that were submitted. Our goal is and has always been to see the space renovated and turned into a functioning space that represents the needs and wants of the community. That having been said, we will be in attendance on Wednesday and what we and others will be bringing to the table is the need for their to be an alternative site for large scale concerts and other events to occur for summer 2009 - the waterfront, Bushwick Inlet. We are not asking for a bandshell or anything like that, a large concrete slab on the water is fine so long as it can accommodate 5,000+ people. The plans for the Bushwick Inlet, from what I have been told, were conceptualized by Parks in 2006, prior to the concerts and movies in the pool. These plans must be reconsidered and take into account the thousands of people who filled out surveys, and lived here long before the million dollar condos went up poolside. The area is predominantly non residential so it would be a perfect location for large scale events with amplified audio to occur frequently throughout the summer.Some of the concert supporters may turn up at the Community Board meeting tonight, which will take place at 6:30 PM at the Swinging Sixties Seniors Center, which is located at 211 Ainslie St. (corner of Manhattan Ave.) The plans are not preliminary. They will be presented for formal community review when they are finalized. The plans must also go to the Landmarks Preservation Commission as the pool was landmarked last year.