McCarren Park Pool's Recent History Captured in New Photo Exhibit

By Meredith Hoffman on June 5, 2012 12:24pm 

The pool will open June 28 for swimmers.
The pool will open June 28 for swimmers.
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NYC Parks Department

GREENPOINT — Before the McCarren Park Pool reopens for swimmers next month for the first time in nearly three decades, one young photographer is offering a peek at its recent but off-limits past.

"Where They Swam" features Gina Pollack's pictures from the pool in 2009, when the historic structure was closed to begin its $50 million renovation. Pollack, 25, snuck over the fence and shot photos of the property in its state of flux.

Beginning this Friday, her exhibit will go on display at the One Well art space on Greenpoint Avenue, just weeks before the 37,950-square-foot pool's June 28 reopening approaches.

"The pool is really telling of what this neighborhood has seen as far as history," said Pollack, who became fascinated by the pool's past after beginning to document it and researching its initial construction in 1936 by the city's Works Progress Administration.

"The pool has remained in the same place in its original structure, while the neighborhood around it has been changing."

The space, which closed in 1984, opened as an outdoor concert venue in 2005, and will accommodate 1,500 swimmers and feature a large recreation center with gym equipment and exercise rooms when it reopens.

Pollack said she found appeal in the structure even before the pool's massive renovation.

"The structure in its form of decay and abandonment was really beautiful," said Pollack, who photographed the pool during "magic hour," just before the sun sets, to give her images a glow.

"The red colors come out a lot, and it looks really beautiful but also really rough," Pollack said. "I liked the juxtaposition."

A reception for Pollack's show is scheduled for Friday, June 8 from 7-10 p.m., at One Well on 165 Greenpoint Ave.

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