Photo: Courtesy of nyc.gov
Williamsburg’s McCarren Park Pool, an empty pit for most of the the last 28 years, underwent a $50 million renovation and reopened June 28 as a full-fledged community pool.
Sound like a safe haven for summer fun? Sure, if there are police on duty.
One of McCarren’s lifeguards opened up to the New York Post about what it has been like to work at the pool since it opened.
Apparently, McCarren’s lifeguards have more than running kindergartners to blow their whistles at — try breaking up violent fights between teenagers.
Here’s how the anonymous lifeguard described it:
The first major fight happened on our second day of work, and we had to shut the pool after people got arrested. Three kids were doing flips in the pool, and we were trying to get them to stop. One of my fellow lifeguards was standing on the edge of the deck.
I turned around and saw one of the kids push him into the pool and start fighting him. I jumped into the pool and tried pulling the kids off and they started jumping on me. It was really intense. It turned into a brawl with three lifeguards in the water fighting off about 15 high-school kids.
Let’s not forget that they have to clean up pool accidents, too:
One of the lifeguards called me over while I was watching the baby pool the other day. ‘There’s poop in the pool,’ he said. ‘It’s scattered everywhere.’ I saw one kid step on a piece. I tried to tell the parents to get out, but no one listened to me. I had to yell at them that there was feces in the pool.
Yikes. It seems that the McCarren lifeguards are earning every penny of that $13.55-an-hour wage.
But wait, there is a glimmer of hope. New York Daily News writer Denis Hamill visited McCarren with his 12-year-old son, and it seems like police have cleaned up the pool in more ways than one. Hamill writes:
Then we stepped out to a sprawling public pool that was bluer than the azure Brooklyn sky. Lifeguards in orange gear sat in 10 high chairs shaded by orange umbrellas, with more lifeguards patrolling the pool edge.
We circled the quarter-full pool from the six-inch-deep baby wading area to the three- and four-foot adult section. Whole families splashed together. Older people bobbed by the edges. Couples sunbathed together on the stone deck. Muscle guys and bikini girls — black, Hispanic, white, Asian — paraded past, exchanging smiles, shiny with oil.
It was the dance of life on a sunny day.
Hamill did acknowledge that there were police on duty to keep the crowds in line, but he described the pool as a “snapshot of summer in New York ” with no signs of violence.
Hamill even dubbed McCarren as a “summer oasis of peace and calm” — far from the hellish, unsanitary community pool the lifeguard described in the Post.
Maybe things are looking up for McCarren.
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