McCarren Pool and Play Center landmarked

WPA-funded pool currently used for concerts and other performances. On July 24, 2007, Landmarks designated the McCarren Play Center in northern Brooklyn as an individual City landmark. The play center includes one of the largest swimming pools in the city, as well as a bath house and viewing terraces.

Named after state assemblyman Patrick Henry McCarren, the pool and play center was built with Works Progress Administration funds under the aegis of Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, who opened it with great fanfare in 1936 along with Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. Landmarks considered several WPA-era pools and play centers alongside McCarren Play Center, and designated two others, the Sunset Play Center in Brooklyn, and the Thomas Jefferson Play Center in Manhattan. 4 CityLand 26 (March 15, 2007). The pool, empty for several years, has recently played host to summer concert series, as well as dance performances and film screenings.

While the concerts have been a matter of some contention among neighborhood residents, Commissioner Libby Ryan found them a positive example of adaptive reuse, and commented that she was happy Landmarks did not regulate use. Commissioner Joan Gerner reminisced about learning to swim in McCarren Pool, and Chair Robert Tierney took the unusual step of inviting Council Member Rosie Mendez to speak at the designation. Mendez testified to her long support of the designation, and thanked Landmarks for undertaking the project. Landmarks voted unanimously to designate.

LPC: McCarren Play Center (LP-2244) (July 24, 2007).

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