McCarren Pool in Williamsburg, Brooklyn was originally opened in 1936 and was shut down in the early 1980’s. After almost 30 years of being closed, and 50 million dollars spent in renovations the pool final reopened in late June of this year, only to be the site of violence just after reopening.
On the first day of the pool opening on June 28th, it is reported that the lines were extremely long and the pool reportedly didn’t open until 1:30 in the afternoon, when it was supposed to open at 11 that morning.
Within in the first week there were, lifeguard attacks, a police officer was assaulted and locker room thefts. This violence is similar to that which caused the pool’s shut down in 1984. When the pool had closed initially it was so that renovations could being, but the residents objected because of all the crime that was occurring there then, according to a report on freewilliamsburg.com.
One resident says that “McCarren just has that reputation.” He went on the say that the kids in the neighborhood hear stories about how the pool was before it closed and that what happened right after its reopening seems to be the norm.
Shaquawna Barnes who was with two children she was watching said that this was her third trip to the pool and that it was always peaceful whenever she went to the pool. Barnes says that she cannot believe that the reports of what happened at the pool in those first few days were even true. Barnes sais maybe since the cop was assaulted and the increase police presence, everything has calmed down,
Resident Lyndsay Miller who was at the pool the day that the cop was assaulted says that it is not as bad as everyone says it is. Miller says that she has been at the pool very often since the first week and that things have calmed down a lot. Miller even says she hasn’t waited more than ten minutes to get in the pool even when it’s at capacity.
Charlotte of Williamsburg, who moved to the neighborhood in 1984, the year the pool closed, says that it wasn’t as bad as she thought it would be, it was her first time at the pool and she even brought her granddaughter. From the stories she heard about the pool when it closed, she feels the violence there could have been much worse than what was seen in the first week.
Inspector Royster of the NYPD said since the incidents that occurred on July 2nd, there have been increased patrols at the pool during its hours of operation. Royster also says that there is a temporary operations vehicle assigned to that area. According to Royster the NYPD is working with the parks department to keep the people at the pool safe and closing pool has not been discussed.
When at the pool recently there was a police presence, with at least NYPD four officers at the gate of the pool and the mobile unit that Inspector Royster spoke of no more than ten yards from the entrance. There were also at least three park department officers that could be seen near the pool as well as patrolling the rest of the park. On pool deck itself, there were eleven lifeguards and at least three members of park security.
Even with all that park security and NYPD presence, the pool has still proven to be a hotspot for violence. On Tuesday July 17th more news of violence came from McCarren pool. Yet another fight broke out at the pool around six o’clock that evening. According CBS News, a fight broke out, several people were pepper sprayed by NYPD officers as the cops tried to get control of the situation. Three men in their twenties were arrested in connection with the incident.