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June 20, 2010 / Media / Brooklyn news / Podcast / Gowanus / Meadows of Shame
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Marty: How about ‘Adopt-a-Pool’?

The Brooklyn Paper
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Call it the “Adopt-a-Pool” program.

Borough President Markowitz made good on a promise to show up in swim trunks on Sunday to support efforts to open the shuttered Double-D Pool in Gowanus, but the Beep did not have a silver bullet solution for getting the city to take the watering hole off its budgetary hit list — calling instead for an outside corporation to pony up the $200,000 that the city says it will save.

“Somewhere in America or beyond [there is a company that] would look on this pool and say, ‘Let’s save the day, let’s sponsor it,’ ” Markowitz said, suggesting that an athletic equipment or swimsuit manufacturer jump into the budgetary breach.

The Parks Department has said that it needs to close the Double-D pool as part of a $2.6-million cut in the agency’s $23.2-million “recreation services” budget.

Several pool lovers among the 100 or so gathered at the “Save Our Summer” rally (see our video here or on the screen above) questioned Markowitz on the need for a private-sector savior when there is already complete agreement on the need for the pool from so many elected officials — including Assemblywoman Joan Millman (D-Carroll Gardens) and Councilmen Brad Lander (D-Park Slope) and Steve Levin, in whose Williamsburg-Park Slope district the pool at the corner of Nevins and Degraw streets actually sits.

There is even a Facebook page devoted to saving the pool.

Markowitz said that his office’s budget, which is slated to be cut from $5.5 million this year to $3.8 million next year, does not include discretionary funding, though the borough president does have 39 salaried staffers, plus additional budget lines that provide nearly $1 million for postage, lighting, and printing costs.

There is also an unexplained allocation of $303,000 for “special expense” in the mayor’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year.

Other elected officials offered equally little red meat for the steamy crowd.

Levin offered his support, but added that city agencies have been ordered by the mayor to make $400 million in cuts — and that he and his Council colleagues are working feverishly to restore pools, senior centers, after-school programs and other vital services.

Lander suggested that the wealthiest New Yorkers — he specified “hedge fund managers” — need to pay more in taxes.

“We need to ask for just a little more for those most able to pay,” he said, adding that the city opened 11 public pools during the Great Depression, yet during the Great Recession, Bloomberg has ordered four such cool-off spots closed for the summer.

“Mayor LaGuardia knew that even in tough times, we need a city that comes together, and that our public facilities are where we build public resolve to face tough times together,” Lander said. “Unfortunat­ely, Mayor Bloomberg has not learned that lesson and has taken the opposite approach: what we do in tough times is make them tougher.”

Still, Markowitz held out hope that $200,000 would be found in time for the pool’s original opening date of June 29.

“Two hundred thousand dollars is a very modest sum to give to these kids and their families a wonderful summer,” he said.

He doffed his shorts and revealed his swim trunks, though declined to take off his shirt.

“I’ll take the T-shirt off when this pool reopens,” he vowed.

A Parks Department spokesman said that the agency has had no discussions with any corporate sugar daddy, but did say that there is a precdent for such a donation.

In 1991, philanthropist Sol Goldman donated about $1.8 million to keep pools open during that year’s fiscal crisis.

Updated 5:18 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Steve Nitwitt from Sheepshead Bay says:
Hey it could be worse. Norm from ayr could have showed up in his bathing suit.
June 20, 2010, 9:40 pm
Sid from Boerum Hill says:
Norm would have been happy to do that if the Nets had agreed to donate the $200,000 for the pool to keep it opened. I heard he offered to do it for that....and that Ratner and the Nets declined.
June 21, 2010, 12:50 am
Tim Seitz from Bay Ridge says:
Marty has a great idea, while we're at it, can we get someone (Maybe Nathan's?) to sponsor so we can keep the B64?

Seniors can't get up and down all the subway steps and it's the only bus connecting Bay Ridge to Coney Island. We love each other (Coney Island and Bay Ridge), and killing the B64 is hurting all of us!
June 22, 2010, 11:07 am
Monica McLaughlin from Upper East Side says:
I find it odd that Brooklyn Borough President, Marty Markowitz is calling for a corporate sponsor to step forward. Why would a corporate sponsor step forward when it is against Park's policy to put so much as a single corporate sign in an NYC public park?

Instead he should be screaming about inequality. The money to open the pool is there. The city just is not willing to allocate it to those in need.

City pools are closing in poor neighborhoods (The Douglas and DeGraw pool in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn; Fort Totten's pool near Bayside, Queens; The West Brighton pool on Staten Island; and Wagner pool in East Harlem) because politicians continue to divert park funds to wealthy neighborhoods to renovate and add features to already beautiful parks. An excellent example is Pavilion Park located in the tony Upper East Side of Manhattan at 61st Street overlooking the East River. Tiny but chic the 12,000 square foot (slightly less than ¼ acre) Pavilion Park was built in 1995 --only 15 years ago-- at a cost of $2.1 million dollars (a price tag that does not include the cost of the Alice Aycock rooftop sculpture).

On June 9, 2010 I attended a Manhattan Community Board 8 meeting where I learned that plans are underway to completely revamp Pavilion Park WITH $1 million dollars of City park funds. Existing practically brand new fencing and benches will be replaced as will the $600,000 hex tile patterned paved surface. Why? Because wealthy Upper East Side residents have decided they now want a raised lawn for a more up-to-date green look. They may be wealthy, but they certainly do not want to spend their own money which is why the City will pick up the $1 million dollar tab! When I objected, I was informed that it wasn't costing "that much" money. Imagine. Only $1 million dollars. Chump change in this hood. (Especially when it comes with money saved by closing your pool!)

Hey, I know what. Come use our pool. Yes, believe it or not, we too have a public pool here on the Upper East Side. It is located in John Jay Park on East 77th Street and guess what? Our pool won’t be closing this summer. And you know why I am inviting you to swim in our pool? Because we won’t be using it, that’s why. Like the rest of my neighbors, we’re gonna be out in the Hamptons. Hey, suckers. Have a nice summer!

(A big round of thanks to our elected and appointed officials who put wealthy white Upper East Side residents first. (UES: 88% white, $88,000 per capita income. Brooklyn census tracts closest to D&D pool (71, 125 & 127): 80% black and Hispanic; median household – not per capita income is approximately $23,000.)

Special thanks to Mayor Bloomberg (who lives in the Upper East Side, of course) Parks Commissioner William Castro, Manhattan Parks Commission Adrian Benepe, Manhattan Community Board 8, Council members Jessica Lappin and Daniel Garodnick) for keeping the money (and the open pools) where they should be – in the hands of wealthy white folks!

Does this sound fair to you?
June 22, 2010, 7:14 pm
sid from Boerum Hill says:
the report is the pool will open this summer...!!!!

Thanks to Alex and Ryan my grandsons-they were there at the demonstrations
June 24, 2010, 10:22 pm
Steve Nitwitt's conscience says:
Sorry about that. Really. I act like a jerk sometimes.
July 16, 2011, 6:49 am

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