NEW YORK (CBSNewYork.com) – The newly renovated McCarren Park Pool in Brooklyn opened on June 28, and has been evacuated three times in less than two weeks.
The latest evacuation did not stem from violence, however. This time, it had to do with a “toilet issue,” according to a report on DNAinfo.com. The pool closed for about 20 minutes on Monday.
Since its re-opening, lifeguards have been attacked, a police officer was assaulted and the lines have been very long.
An NYPD officer was hospitalized July 2 after being punched at the pool, authorities confirmed to 1010 WINS.
The officer was said to be assisting in the enforcement of the “No Diving” rule after a group of individuals were doing back-flips around 5:20 p.m.
A dispute, featuring cursing and threats, ensued and one of individuals got physical and punched the officer in the face, police said.
A 20-year-old, a 17-year-old and an 18-year-old were all charged with assault on a police officer in the 2nd degree, inciting a riot, menacing, criminal nuisance and disorderly conduct, 1010 WINS reported. The police officer was treated at Bellevue Hospital.
The next morning, pool-goers were lined up long before the gates opened at the brand-new $50 million facility.
“I’m the first in line, been here two times, haven’t been able to get in and I come from South Ozone, Queens,” Nancy Figeroa told CBS 2′s Kathryn Brown.
Most were carrying towels and sunscreen, but most also wearing a thin coat of anxiety, Brown reported, after several violent outbursts occurred at the pool.
“I’m kind of scared because you don’t know if someone is going to walk around with a gun, and people are not gonna know when the cops are not around,” said 11-year-old Richard Coloado.
“I have an 11-year-old child and I would like to come to a pool and not feel threatened by the teenagers and their unruly behavior,” said Diana Morales.
McCarren was closed in the 1980s, largely because of safety concerns, but recently reopened with promises of more security and a new beginning.
“Thispool has an illustrious past and it certainly has a bright future, too,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg touted at the reopening ceremony.
Michael Mertyris lives around the corner, and he said he’s already fed up.
“I mean, come on. Two cops got punched in the face last night, what does that tell you?” Mertyris said. “It’s absurd, it’s really absurd.”
Park officials said they’re doing everything they can to keep all city pools safe, vowing to kick out anyone who violates the rules.
Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey echoed that statement saying, “Thousands of New Yorkers are enjoying McCarren Park Pool’s beautiful renovation, getting exercise and keeping cool during this heat wave.”
“The few minor incidents have not impacted the vast majority of pool attendees, just as similar incidents at pools across the city don’t stop New Yorkers from enjoying themselves,” Jeffrey added. “NYPD and Parks Enforcement Patrol officers will continue to staff McCarren and the other large pools as they always do.”
Geoffrey Croft, president of New York City Parks Advocates, told Brown they need to do more.
“Unfortunately, it’s expected, because the mayor and elected officials have not allocated enough resources to secure and protect the people that are coming here,” Croft said.
“Basically for the past few days, actually since the pool opened, you’ve had two parks enforcement officers and two police officers per shift. That’s not enough for 1,500 people,” Croft told CBS 2′s Don Dahler.
Last week, a woman reported that her purse had been stolen out of the lockers, Brown reported. Croft told Brown that is the fifth instance of a locker break-in at the pool.
Parks officials told the woman there are no security cameras near the lockers. Since then, the NYPD has assigned five additional officers to the pool, Dahler reported.
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