The pool’s glory days of the ’30s, when it was considered a social hub, are a far cry of what it is today: empty, fenced, closed and run-down with “Danger” signs, grass and weeds shooting through concrete, and the surrounding building covered with graffiti, according to The New York Times. But the city and Live Nation have been working to clean up and revitalize the pool and make a venue out of it at the same time.
Last summer, Live Nation paid $200,000 to help clean it up, according the New York Daily News. The contract to stage as many as 10 shows this summer was awarded in response to the cleanup, the Times said. An experimental dance performance by Agora, the first public event at the pool since its closure, drew 10,000 fans over a three-week period last summer after the cleanup, the Times reported.
The pool is nearly the size of three Olympic-sized pools.
Live Nation NYC talent buyer Sam Kinken told Pollstar that about seven or eight shows will be staged at the pool this summer, testing the water so to speak, to possibly extend the contract to include additional shows.
The city and Live Nation hope turning the old pool site into a concert venue will help generate money to restore it to its former stature, which would cost an estimated $40 million, Kinken said.
“I’m able to present shows in the neighborhood I live in, I’m also able to help the city and the city parks to revitalize this space. Architecturally, it’s an incredible facility,” he said.
The idea is still to bring back the pool, not come up with the next big venue.
“Eventually, it will go away as a facility and hopefully come back up as a pool.”
Shows will take place inside the actual swimming area, which used to fit 6,800 swimmers, but the area is shallow, creating a large surrounding stage area.
Concerts at McCarren Park will most likely feature alternative and indie rock acts, Kinken said. However, “There are a couple other possibilities that are floating out there and I’m certainly open to things that make sense. [McCarren park pool] is an interesting space,” he said, noting the grungy atmosphere and cool graffiti backdrop that has since been cleaned up by the city.
Tickets for the first few shows were all set to go on sale June 3rd. At press time, Kinken said a few more acts would be announced shortly.
Live Nation pays the New York City Parks Department for its use of the pool, but will offset certain additional fees the department would usually charge because of the significant infrastructure improvements the company will make at the site, the Queens Ledger said.
– Ryan Borba