Unruly Crowd at McCarren Closes Pool Early

A day after its grand reopening, McCarren Park pool had to close early after a melee broke out.

Lifeguards were attacked by "an unruly crowd" at around 6 p.m. on Friday, according to the NYC Parks Department. They closed the pool to restore order.

A spokesperson said, "there was a brief altercation at McCarren Pool with no serious injuries. The pool will be open as usual tomorrow."

The pool had a history of fights breaking out before the Community Board and concerned citizens voted to close the park in the 1980s. Some residents described the pool then as a hotspot for fights and other unpredictable behavior, as WNYC's Kathleen Horan reported:

“You know, pushing and shoving, they would steal things from your locker room which wasn't nice," said longtime resident Kathy Schaefer. She blamed some of the kids from the “Southside” of the neighborhood at the time.

Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe remembers that pools all over the city at the time were far from peaceful.

“Young people and adolescents are rowdy and for some people that’s scary but we’ve found ways to make sure they’re not rowdy anymore or at least it’s nipped in the bud, but this was a different time,” said Benepe.

On Thursday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg celebrated the re-opening of the pool in Willamsburg. The landmark pool, first built in 1936 and closed in 1984, underwent a 3 year, $50 million dollar renovation.