swimming

Couples Use Newtown Creek As Dog Beach

Warning: These photos are horrifying.

Dog Swimming in Newtown Creek Off Newtown Creek Nature Center

When I came across these images on the Facebook feed of local environmental activist Laura Hofman, depicting a couple playing fetch with their dog off the Newtown Creek Nature Center, I was shocked and naturally disgusted. My first reaction was – Animal Abuse! Call the ASPCA.   Continue reading

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McCarren Park Pool: A 12 Step Guide

1- The night before the big day, freeze a large bottle of water in your freezer.

2- Go to bed.

3- Wake up and get some breakfast and coffee.  There is no food or drink available for purchase at the pool and you don’t want your time cut short by hunger pangs.

4- Bring a gym lock.  They will not let you in without one. There are no bags allowed on the pool deck.  Everything is to be locked up.

5- If it’s the weekend, get over to the pool by 10AM.  It opens at 11AM, and you want to be one of the first people in. Waiting an hour isn’t the end of the world.  The line is mostly shady, but there are some sunny spots, so wear sunscreen. Continue reading

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Mayor Mike “Dufus” Boomberg: “The McClarren Park Pool … to make Waves in Williamsburg.”

Photo courtesy of Joe Lentol

Yep, the pool is open! There was a line around the block after the ribbon cutting when according to Gothamist, the mayor mispronounced it as “McClarren” and then said: “Today we’re going to make some waves in Williamsburg!” Greenpointers had a problem with that and corrected him on both fumbles. Na doy, everyone knows that McCarren Park is in Greenpoint, Mayor Boomberg. 11222!

Either way the pool will be enjoyed by Williamsburgers and Greenpointers alike. According to the park’s website: “Outdoor pool hours are from 11:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m., with a break for pool cleaning between 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. The outdoor pool season begins on June 28 and ends Labor Day, September 3.”

There will be designated morning and evening lap swims and an ice skating rink in the winter. No word on what will happen in the off season (Spring & Fall). After last night’s stellar The Big Splash! – OSANB’s fundraising event, I hope it can be used as an event space in the off-hours, too.

Check out Gothamist’s photos of the opening.

Check out Joe Lentol’s photos of the opening.

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The Look: McCarren Park Pool

Here are some looks we put together from local shops so you look HOT at McCarren Park Pool, which opens Thursday, June 28, 2012. Remember, they won’t let you in unless you have a bathing suit and a lock. Pick up a lock at Jam’s Stationary (835 Manhattan Ave.) or Crest Hardware (558 Metropolitan Ave.) Continue reading

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Where They Swam Opens at the one well tonight!

© Gina Pollack

Have you stopped by the one well on Greenpoint Ave, yet? It’s an amazingly curated shopping experience. Kerry, the owner, has an great eye not only for picking out unique vintage finds and the wares of local makers, but she also puts on great art exhibitions.

Tonight, Friday June 8th, is the Opening Reception for Where They Swam/Other Relics, a photographic exhibition by Gina Pollack that documents the pre-construction of the soon to be re-opened McCarren Park Pool in 2009.

Would you believe a bag is what brought Kerry & Gina together? Gina loved a bag in the one well, which she found on a KRRB, an online flea market for locals. (Think Craigslist has a baby with Pinterest.) “On a whim,” Gina sent Kerry her website, and now Gina is for the first time is having “my own show, my own work.”

Like all multitasking creative Greenpointers, Gina has a pretty cool day job, designing a book for street artist JRs, Inside Out Project, who is known for his outstanding gigantic portraits on the landscapes of flavellas in Brazil and the South Bronx.

For Where They Swam, Gina operated like a street artist in order to get shots inside the pool by climbing over construction zone barricades.

Continue reading

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Pastor Marries Choir Girl Who Swims In the Newtown Creek


Everyone gives me crap for not being a “real” Greenpointer, but my great grandfather G. Clement Edson was the pastor of the Noble Street Presbyterian Church (1907-1911) and my grandmother Isabelle was born on Noble St. Why does this matter?

Great Grandpa’s wedding to his new wife, Gertrude, a choir girl, after his first wife, who was my biological Grandmother died, caused major drama in Greenpoint. The old ladies of the church had another dame picked out for him, but old Clem knew who he wanted. A headline in the Brooklyn Eagle read, Pastor Marries Chorus Girl, which is very different from a choir girl. 20th Century Greenpoint gossip! While I need to do some digging in the Brooklyn Eagle archives, the story even made it into the NY Times.

And aside from personal validation, my great grandmother Gertrude used to swim in the Newtown Creek! Explains a lot, right? We can imagine it was a beautiful and natural place back then.

Annie Edson Taylor

This is not the first instance of a ballsy female ancestor taking risks with water. I’m also related to the infamous Annie Edson Taylor, who went over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Today, I would do that before taking a plunge into the Newtown Creek.

These days if you see someone swimming in the Newtown Creek, (after you lol,) call 911.

The New York State Department of Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry completed a public healthy assessment of the Newtown Creek. This is very important information considering the North Brooklyn Boat Club has been taking to the waters! (I just became a member, it’s $30.)

Today, May 4th is the deadline to comment by filling out this form.

Their key findings:

  • 1. DON’T EAT ANYTHING OUT OF THE NEWTOWN CREEK! “Eating fish and crabs taken from Newtown Creek could harm people’s health, due to the chemical contaminants. Women under 50 years old and children under 15 years old should not eat any fish or crabs from these waters. Others should follow the State Health Department advisories for eating fish and crabs taken from this and other waterways. There is currently a fish consumption advisory for Newtown Creek.”
  • 2. DON’T SWIM IN THE NEWTOWN CREEK! “Swimming, scuba diving and wind surfing (with full body immersion) could harm people’s health, due to biological contaminants and physical hazards (underwater debris, commercial boat traffic).”
  • 3. YOU CAN TOUCH IT, BUT WASH YOUR HANDS! “Canoeing, kayaking, boat touring and catch-and-release fishing are not expected to harm people’s health, if people use precautions (properly washing their hands) to avoid swallowing biological contaminants from surface water.
This is an important step for public safety information. Is there any hope for the Newtown Creek? Can it ever be cleaned up back to the time when Great Grandma Gertrude swam there? 

Reference:

Vice’s Toxic: Brooklyn Series 2007
PBS Map of Newtown Creek
PBS Video Series: The City Concealed: Newtown Creek

Brooklyn Genealogy: City of Churches
Brooklyn Genealogy: The Eastern District of Brooklyn; The N Streets
Brooklyn Online: Historic Greenpoint

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