Today’s news:

Double D-saster! City closes Gowanus public pool for the summer!

The Brooklyn Paper

The Douglass-Degraw pool, a cool respite for thousands of inner-city kids in Gowanus, will not be open this summer, the city quietly announced this week, citing budget cuts.

The pool, along Nevins Street between Douglass and Degraw streets, is the lone Brooklyn watering hole out of four citywide that will be shuttered, a cost-cutting move the city says will save $1.4 million.

“It was a difficult decision but the immediate area surrounding the pool is industrial — not residential, whereas many other pools in Brooklyn are directly adjacent to public housing,” said Parks Department spokesman Philip Abramson.

The pool is across from a truck repair yard and a brass and copper company’s warehouse, but the surrounding blocks are also home to dense public housing developments, including the Wyckoff Gardens, the Gowanus Houses, and a development on Warren Street.

And the Brooklyn Boulders climbing gym a half-block from the pool attracts thousands of kids — many of whom were hoping to use the Douglass-Degraw pool to cool off.

“This is very much a bummer,” said Brendan Hendry, a manager at Brooklyn Boulders, which was planning to incorporate the pool into its summer programming. “I was very much looking forward to having a pool in the neighbohrood.”

Charlene Nimmons, the president of the Wyckoff Gardens’ resident’s association, saw a larger problem than just inconvenienced climbers.

“You have over 1,000 residents right here in Wyckoff, another 2,000 plus in Gowanus, and 500 in the Warren Street houses — to say it is an ‘industrial area’ is an insult to us,” she charged. “Our families want to cool down, too.”

The startling news made residents more than a little hot under the collar.

“The city is definitely doing the wrong thing!” said resident Lois Boyd. “You are condemning black and Hispanic neighborhoods.”

Park advocates were also taken off guard by the closing.

“They gave me no warning at all,” said Sue Wolfe, the president of the group Friends of Douglass/Greene Park.

Along with public housing residents in Gowanus, the pool was also well used by residents of neighboring Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens and Park Slope, Wolfe noted.

“This is a terrible decision, and we’re going to fight it,” she said.

The Parks Department said that the controversial decision was also a result of attendance figures, though the agency did not release those numbers.

Whatever the statistics say, the “Double D” pool has a long list of fans, who cherish its intimate feel, large kiddie pool area and relaxed rule enforcement. In 2007, The Brooklyn Paper called it “the hidden gem of the system.”

For now, the closest public pool for Gowanus residents will be in Red Hook — worlds away, particularly given its geographic isolation and notoriously challenging transportation network. That pool is often so crowded that security guards keep kids outside until enough bathers exit.

There is also a public pool in Sunset Park.

Public pools will open for the season on June 29.

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Reader Feedback

Griff from Williamsburg says:
Terrible, terrible decision.
June 6, 2010, 10:13 am
swimmer from gowanus says:
could this be the mayor, using lame excuses from the parks department, to get back at this area of Brooklyn that did not vote for him this past fall?

This is so unfair to the kids in this area--for many, summer activity is going to this pool.
How does this pool closing fit into the mayors plan to reduce childhood obesity? And would could be better for improving school performance that a summer recess with real physical activities? This can't be cost effective!
June 6, 2010, 3:29 pm
Rick from South Brooklyn says:
The people should not settle for this,we should rise up and have this decision overturned. We can do it and must do it for the kids. The kids in the area don't have much and now they take this away.Call you district leader and lets get this done and have the pool re-opened on schedule.I would work there for free and I'm sure many others would too,so it won't cost the city the 1.4 million they are looking to save.
June 6, 2010, 8:09 pm
BJ from Gowanus says:
For the mayor and his team, reducing child hood obesity is not the priority. Giving lucrative consultant contracts and contracts for pointless ad campaigns and is what it's all about.
June 6, 2010, 9:26 pm
Dave from Clinton Hill says:
Plenty of money to get that new Brooklyn Bridge Park open for kids in Bk Heights Dumbo, apparently not enough to give the kids here a good option for a safe place to play and cool off during the summer.
June 7, 2010, 10:34 am
Sam from Gowanus says:
Join the Facebook Group to save the pool! Also includes guided info on who to contact in attempt to overturn this decision!/group.php?gid=122609414441436
June 7, 2010, 1 pm
Any Mouse from Any Where says:
the Mayor has targeted the greatest concentration of cuts in areas with new Council Members who don't even know where the bathrooms are in City Hall. They obviously cannot defend themselves. So it's City Hall's path of least resistance.

Hey, folks, politics is the law of jungle -- Only the strongest survive!
June 7, 2010, 3:51 pm
Lea from Borehum Hill says:
Oh, we have to be poor to have access to free things now, as we all pay high taxes as it is...politics as always! I like the idea of us working and volunteering to keep it open. Let's boycott these issues! We all work hard as it is to keep our children safe and busy and off the streets.
June 7, 2010, 5:59 pm
Melanie from Boerum Hill says:
Please sign petition:
June 7, 2010, 10:42 pm
Fior from Brooklyn says:
This is a travesty! It is obvious that budget cuts only apply to neighborhoods with large black and hispanic demographics. We need to hold those we elect into office more accountable. This pool is an outlet for children on hot summer days. I agree... to call this area industrial is inaccurate.
June 8, 2010, 8:30 am
Tom R from Park Slope says:
Seems to me that if Marty Markowitz could tear himself away long enough from getting his photo in the paper he might ask one of his buddies like Bruce Ratner or the owner of the Moscow Nets to maybe donate the money to open the Douglas-Degraw pool for the summer. After all if you're making huge profits from the City you might want to consider it a good PR move to give back something.
June 14, 2010, 11:38 am

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