McCarren Pool Attracts Trash and Graffiti, Neighbors Say

By Meredith Hoffman on July 2, 2012 5:05pm 

Meredith Chesney, whose salon is across from McCarren Pool on Bayard Street, said her rolldown gate was tagged this weekend after the pool's opening. Chesney and other neighbors said the crowds combined with a lack of trash cans and port-a-potties has caused more litter.
Meredith Chesney, whose salon is across from McCarren Pool on Bayard Street, said her rolldown gate was tagged this weekend after the pool's opening. Chesney and other neighbors said the crowds combined with a lack of trash cans and port-a-potties has caused more litter.
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DNAinfo/Meredith Hoffman

WILLIAMSBURG — McCarren Pool's crowds have caused headaches for some neighbors, who claim that trash, graffiti and human waste have been major problems at the newly refurbished summer hot spot.

Residents near the newly opened pool on Lorimer Street said the city failed to prepare with necessary trash cans and porta-potties, and they lamented that this weekend graffiti has sprung up in multiple places by the pool.

"It was disgusting," said Meredith Chesney, who said her salon Mousey Brown on the corner of Lorimer Street and Bayard Street was badly hit this weekend — starting with graffiti on the rolldown gate to her garage Friday night.

Chesney, 48, who also noticed new tagging on her next-door neighbor's wall and on the skate park by the pool Saturday morning, said she also found human feces in front of her shop later that day.

"It was embarrassing," she said.

"There aren't any porta-potties here, I've had tons of people ask me to use the bathroom here," she said Monday about the weekend line. Chesney also noted that there were no trash cans on Bayard Street where the line snaked, causing a problem with litter.

Mike Smolinsky, another local resident and a member of the community group Friends of McCarren Park (as is Chesney), also lamented the trash and lack of bathrooms, and said the park deserved better sanitation attention.

"People are going to the bathroom by the side of the street and dumping garbage everywhere," he said. "There's been a lot more graffiti too."

Another resident, Felipe Lavalle, who runs the Brooklyn bike tour company Get Up and Ride, agreed that the trash was a problem.

"If you walk by McCarren Pool today you're going to see trash all over the place from the people waiting to get in this morning," he posted Saturday in the North Brooklyn Community facebook group.

And longtime resident Christine Murray asserted that she and other active neighbors had contacted the Parks Department to offer help planning for such concerns before the pool opened.

"Back in April, a group of McCarren Park activists offered to help plan for the opening of the pool but Parks said they had it under control," she wrote.

Stephanie Thayer, the Parks Department's North Brooklyn administrator, posted in the group Saturday that she would bring additional trash cans to the pool's perimeter, and Chesney said that the Parks Department had cleaned Bayard Street Monday morning.

But still, Chesney said, there were no cans or porta-potties.

The Department of Sanitation said the issues were all under the jurisdiction of the Parks Department, and the Parks Department did not comment on the trash, but spoke instead of the general state of the pool and security around the pool, where  a brawl occurred last week.

"On its first weekend, McCarren Pool was filled to capacity - it holds 1,500. The crowds were great and the water was fine," said a Parks spokeswoman.

"Lifeguards and security are always on hand at all 55 outdoor pools and doing a great job," the spokeswoman continued. "We had some additional security staff at McCarren, both for the pool on its first weekend in record-breaking heat and also in anticipation of the large crowds at the new recreation center, which just opened and is located in the same entry way."

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