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OH YEAH! POOLAID WELCOMES MAYOR'S DECISION TO REOPEN MCCARREN POOL
Williamsburg, Brooklyn: Poolaid, a community group dedicated to keeping McCarren Pool open and accessible to everyone, is thrilled with Mayor Michael Bloomberg's recent announcement of his intention to reopen the historic McCarren Pool in the Williamsburg/Greenpoint section of Brooklyn. Let's go swimming, Mayor Mike!
The announcement was part of the Mayor’s "PlaNYC 2030" sustainability initiative, announced on April 22, 2007. Open space issues figure prominently in the program, and as part of the plan, the administration committed to "rebuild the McCarren Park pool as an Olympic-size pool and a year-round recreation center." The entire plan can be read on NYC.gov. The references to McCarren pool are in the Open Space initiative document, pages 6 and 7. Download the pdf here.
Poolaid supports the Mayor's decision and we urge him to move swiftly to implement a planning process that involves the community. A clear timeline and a funding commitment are necessary to make good on this promise.
We also call upon Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe and our local officials, including City Councilperson David Yassky, Borough President Marty Markowitz, and Assembly Member Joseph Lentol, to work with the Mayor to make this dream a reality.
Until the pool is reopened, we support the following measures:
• As long as the pool is a performance venue it should have diverse programming that serves our community.
• Events in the pool should be cheap or free.
• Money from ticketed events at the pool should go to the pool, not to the city general operating fund.
• The pool is for the people! We urge the Parks Department to set up a community committee and have regularly scheduled meetings for discussion of community concerns. We support Parks working with the Open Space Alliance to set up a community committee.
• There should be a clear timeline and a funding plan for turning the pool back into a pool again.
• Community-supported events should get priority to use the facility over national concert promoters. Keep Live Nation and other corporate interests from putting on for-profit events in our pool. No $50 tickets!
PoolAid launches their "We are the Pool" video on Feb 27 at Union Pool, which is intended to encourage community participation in the pool and keep corporate interests out. We want to swim! Please use the links on the right to find out what you can do to keep the pool for the people.
JellyNYC has gotten approval for a nine-concert run of free shows at McCarren Pool this summer, according to Brooklyn Vegan and Curbed. PoolAid loves the free Sunday events that JellyNYC put on last summer and we're glad to see them back this summer. PoolAid is especially happy to see Jelly is collaborating with the Open Space Alliance on a fundraiser. We think that Jelly and Sens Productions helped raise the profile of the pool and opened the door for other community groups to put on events there this year and look forward to seeing what other events community groups arrange.
A story ran in the February 9, 2007 issue of Metro about the Parks Dept. possibly working out a deal with the Open Space Alliance for the OSA to run local parks, including the pool.
The Parks Department holds a meeting about the future of the pool. Eric Peterson, Parks staffer, announces that the pool will once again be programmed on an ad hoc basis. Several residents who live near the pool protest the shows, saying the noise is "unbearable." Peterson acknowledged that there might be fewer amplified shows in 2007. City Council member David Yassky spoke at the meeting and said he is committed to getting a timeline in place to reopen the pool before the end of his term. Yassky also said that he was in agreement with PoolAid's demand that revenue generated by events at the pool go directly to a McCarren Pool fund, not to the Parks General Fund.
Many community members continued to express concern that Live Nation is operating in the pool, charging outrageous prices, installing their stage and forcing others to use it, generating a profit in a public space and contributing little to the community. PoolAid asked what the Parks Department is doing to ensure diversity in pool programming. Peterson said that while he has to operate somewhat passively, responding to the applications that do come in, that he has already had applications for a Polish rock show and a Colombian music festival. The annual crafts fair that is usually in the park will be in the pool this year as well. Eric Peterson also mentions that there is a chance that Parks will hand over control of the pool to the Open Space Alliance, founded by Brooklyn Brewery head Steve Hindy and local activist Joe Vance, and run by local activist Stephanie Thayer.
The pool season opens June 24th with a movie night and Japanther concert put on by Billyburg.com. Live Nation starts selling tickets for their concerts, which average about $40$50, with surcharges. Many in the community voice concern about Live Nation's presence in the pool. PoolAid is formed to monitor and respond to the situation. Meanwhile, Jelly's Sunday concerts, which are free, turn out to be hugely popular. When the Live Nation shows begin in midsummer, they install a huge stage in place of the smaller Jelly stage. In September, Sens puts on Agora II.
The Parks Department issues a Request for Proposals (RFP) regarding the pool. Both Sens Productions and Live Nation submitted proposals, but the Parks Department decided against having one entity programming the pool, and instead began accepting permit applications on an ad hoc basis. Live Nation books the pool for seven concerts, Noemie books it for the month of October and for many rehearsal dates, and JellyNYC's proposal for a free show every Sunday is also accepted.
Clear Channel spins Live Nation off as a separate entity in order to avoid regulatory and legal pitfalls related to Clear Channel's predatory business practices and monopoly of radio stations, outdoor advertising, and live events. Despite the spinoff, the two companies still share a management services, a board of directors, and do a considerable amount of business with each other. For more on Clear Channel and Live Nation, visit some of these sites:
McCarren Pool opens to the public for the first time since 1983 with a month of performances for Noemie LaFrance's Agora. The performances were made possible due to donations from both Noemie's group, Sens Productions and from Clear Channel Communications.