I started blogging today strictly because I wanted to use that title. But also I want to talk to you about McCarren Park and what is becoming of it.
McCarren Park, if you don’t know, is the epicenter of all Williamsburg and Greenpoint leisure. It’s a giant, unpleasant, treeless park littered with cigarette butts and dog crap. It has an all-weather track, an astroturf soccer field, a Hasidic softball team, and is now completely surrounded with giant luxury condo towers. It’s a hipster promenade: people put on the absolute dumbest things they own and strut around with their ironically named dogs. (Some good ironic dog names: “Meow”, “Ceci n’est pas une chien”, “Capitalism”, “Michael J. Woof”)
What’s that? You want more pithy commentary? Well, there’s seven ice cream trucks there, nineteen hours a day, and they never turn the goddamn sound off. When they passed that “shut the ice cream trucks the fuck up” law last year, these trucks straight up cranked that shit up until it bumped, my friend. That’s how the bootleg Good Humor man rolls. Bling bling, and watch out for children. Also there’s a bunch of women that don’t speak English selling sickeningly sweet fruit ices, and they have bike horns on their carts to alert you that they’re now standing within a couple miles of you. This is to protect us from silence, which is one of the top ten problems facing New York. Right up there with “way cheap”, “too polite”, and “subways insufficiently crowded.”
The park is tres complicated and fun, in other words. And the gem of McCarren is the McCarren Park Pool, which is a big abandoned pile of bullshit that you aren’t allowed into ten months of the year. Here’s a brief history [NOTE: this is mostly mythology at this point]:
- 1935 – Robert Moses bulldozes some tenements or something and builds a pool.
- 1950 – The pool is popular. People swim in it.
- 1969 – A bunch of Puerto Ricans move to Williamsburg and have the audacity to use the pool. In a furor, the grumpy Italians and Polish demand that the pool be immediately abandoned and destroyed by weeds. The city gives in, because back in the day the city was a huge racist, and apparently also didn’t realize that Puerto Ricans could vote.
- 1998 – A bunch of hipsters move to Williamsburg and start using the decaying corpse of the pool for free concerts.
- 2005 – The concerts are getting really popular.
- 2007 – Some genius realizes that if they charge $50 for the concerts, they won’t be fun anymore, so Clear Channel immediately starts doing that. Bayard Street becomes jammed with Hummers.
- 2008 – Grumpy Italians and Polish (now joined by the 1960s Puerto Ricans, who have grown old and are annoyed enough with hipsters to join the “angry” team) realize that the concerts and events are popular and fun. In a furor, they demand that the venue be turned back into a pool, at tremendous expense, so nobody can enjoy it ever again. The city gives in.
Trust me. Robert Caro said so.
So, as a result of all this helpful political activity, this is probably the last summer of events at McCarren. Then they’re going to turn it into another gross New York swimming pool, complete with the pervasive urine and gunfights. [NOTE: People love killing each other at public pools in New York. I blame RENT.] In the meantime, though, there were a few awesome events left this summer that didn’t cost money.
First there was the Hold Steady concert, at which thousands of people were left outside a locked gate on Lorimer Street while the band played, during a thunderstorm. That was pretty hood. I took the bus home.
Then there was Wet Hot American Summer. Let me be clear. This wasn’t a bad event. It was well-attended. The people next to me sat there smoking cigarettes, talking loudly on the phone (“I’m at the pool! In the outer boroughs somewhere! What? No, I’m watching a movie! What? Yeah, there are lots of weird people here!”), and generally indicated how they were just way too cool to enjoy the movie. But hey, I wouldn’t have moved to Brooklyn if I didn’t want to put up with massive douchebags all the time. So I put up with that. Michael Showalter and Paul Rudd arrived and made funny.
Also, the guy from the L Magazine showed up. “L” (get it? it’s the name of a rad train and I guess it sounds like Elle, that’s clever) fancies itself a hipster rag, but the man was wearing a power tie. He had a combover. He asked us to, quote, “give a round of applause for the Scion.” He helpfully informed us that our fun was being sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery (cheer), Greenpoint Wines (faint, snootier cheer), and Starbucks (crickets). And Scion.
[P.S. Scion has also taken over Adult Swim. Maybe somebody should call Scion and tell them that nobody in the 18-24 demographic will ever buy a new car. “Hey, guys, they don’t sell Scions at thrift stores or Old Navy. Yes, really. Uh huh. Stay classy, dudes. OK. Thanks for all those unpaid marketing internships.”]
At this point, walking the six blocks to Williamsburg is like going to a sponsored funeral. Have you been to the American Apparel? It’s right next to Sea! Across the street from the Pad Thai place! No, the other one. No, the red one. They have great egg rolls, I think. The pallbearers were brought to you by Pepsi. That’ll be $74.99, special bereavement rate. Smile for the brochure.
But hey, man, pretty much all 8,000 hipsters showed up to see the movie and be mocked by Michael Showalter. It’s nice to see a little community. And the DoubleShots were free! Let me tell you, I can’t wait to drink Colt 45 in the kiddie pool with all you jackasses next summer. 25 cents off park admission if you buy a condo. Now with authentic grit!