Everything That Happens at Williamsburg Pool Freighted With Heavy Sociocultural Significance
Generally speaking, no mischief perpetrated by teenagers is "news." Teenagers not perpetrating mischief is news. This is because—no matter what race, creed, nationality, or socioeconomic stratum they come from—teenagers are punks. Do not, however, tell this to the New York Times. They have a very incisive sociological story to write.
The borough of Brooklyn has 17 public pools. The newest is McCarren Pool, which just opened on the border of Greenpoint and Williamsburg. Hey—did someone say Greenpoint and Williamsburg? **SIRENS** You've won an automatic news story linking even the most inconsequential event to broader themes of gentrification and hipsterism! Yessssss!
The McCarren Pool has been open about a week, and there have been two incidents: first some kids attacked a lifeguard. Then some kids punched a cop. What do these incidents have in common? Kids, being idiots. If every incident of a kid doing some idiotic violent thing in the summertime made the New York Times, the New York Times would be one thousand million (one billion) pages long, per day. We all accept as a matter of course that these things are not real news. UNLESS they occur in the hallowed Gentrification Zone, of Brooklyn!
When McCarren Park Pool reopened in Brooklyn last week after 28 years, it was hailed as a grand civic achievement and, perhaps, a milestone for a new social dynamic in New York City, one in which people of different racial, ethnic and class backgrounds could socialize - or at least pursue the same activity - together.
A place where the children of hipster artists, attracted by the upscale restoration with its designer flourishes, would play Marco Polo with youngsters from public housing.
It's more than just a pool where there was no pool and people like to swim in pools because it is hot: it's a hipster/ project Marco Polo Zone! The Williamsburg Trend Story vibe is strong in this one.
Out of the thousands of visitors to the pool thus far, a small handful have done something bad. Can the NYT find an old person to object gruffly?
"I'm not happy and not because of the pool, but because of the fighting," said Tony Otero, 71, who has lived near the pool for 25 years. "It's not good for the community. It's trouble. All kinds of kids are coming here."
Williamsburg and Greenpoint are gentrifying, as the NYT hastens to point out ad nauseum. (Williamsburg is where hipsters live, FYI, hipsters gentrification artists hipsters gentrification race white artists youth style hipsters—The NYT.) Is there a way to expand two isolated arrests of idiot kids at a public pool into a wider, racially tinged crisis?
Some of the blog posts and comments in recent days have echoed the racially tinged dialogue of the 1980s, with neighbors of the pool blaming teenagers from outside the community. In fact, two of the men arrested came from a public housing complex, the Marcy Houses, on the border of Williamsburg and Bedford-Stuyvesant. The other lives across the street from the pool.
HMMMM. We commend the NYT's reticence in not working in a reference to Jay-Z there. Have there been any similar incidents at the dozens of other NYC public pools? We have no idea. Everyone knows minor incidents at public pools (non-gentrified) are not news for the paper of record. So what has the fallout been from this racially tinged project-dweller vs. hipster racial crime wave?
Still, the problems at McCarren have prompted the New York Police Department to put plainclothes officers at the site, and one of the police's "temporary headquarters vehicles" is parked nearby.
POLICE STATE IN HIPSTER WATERING HOLE AS PEOPLE WHO GREW UP WHERE CULTURALLY RELEVANT RAPPER JAY-Z DID INVADE IN HORDES AND OLD WHITE PEOPLE ARE ALARMED.
Man, it's too hot for this.