By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Just in time for this weekend’s heat wave, Brooklyn Bridge Park opened its new “Pop-Up Pool” on Friday morning with the splash of dozens of young bodies hurling themselves into the crystal blue water.
“Sure, it’s a little small,” said Assemblymember Joan Millman. “But it’s here.”
While the Pop-Up pool (with a top capacity of 60) is only a fraction of the size of the gargantuan new McCarren pool in Williamsburg, it was just right for the families — many with tiny tykes wearing sunglasses and floppy hats — who showed up for opening day.
“It’s lovely!” said Ruah Bhay from Boerum Hill, splashing in the water with her son Natal, age 20 months. “We’re happy to be here. It’s a special thing to have a pool.”
“This is a great amenity,” said Brooklyn Bridge Park President Regina Myer.
Outgoing Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe noted that he had presided over the opening of two pools in Brooklyn in two weeks. He praised the park and area representatives for opening the park’s pool “very inexpensively and very fast.”
“Kids, the Olympics are in three weeks. Are you ready?” he asked. “Yeah!” the kids replied.
The temporary pool —meant to be in place for five years — was included in a Memorandum of Understanding agreed to by the city, state Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblymember Joan Millman, which allowed for continued park development. The pool's construction cost $700,000, according to the Brooklyn Bridge Conservancy.
“Last summer we secured a pool as part of our agreement to move Brooklyn Bridge Park forward,” Squadron said. “It’s proof that we can expand park amenities at an affordable price.”
He also noted that this was Commissioner Benepe’s “final dip in a pool.” Benepe is moving on to a job with the non-profit Trust for Public Land.
Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy Executive Director Nancy Webster said, “With its spectacular location overlooking the harbor and the Brooklyn Bridge, the Pop-Up Pool and beach should prove to be a popular destination for park visitors to swim, relax, eat and drink, and enjoy a glorious summer in Brooklyn Bridge Park.”
Millman, pointing to the crowd, said, “What we have here today is just a small percentage of the outpouring of people who came by the thousands when we had the floating pool.”
In 2007 the “Floating Pool Lady” — a barge with a pool built into its deck — docked at Pier 6 and was wildly popular.
The Pop-Up Pool’s site, upland of Pier 2, includes a sandy beach with lounge chairs and umbrellas, a food and drink concession, picnic tables, showers and restrooms.
Open swim hours will run from 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Mondays and Saturdays, and 11:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. all other days, through Labor Day. Wristbands will be distributed up to one hour before each hour-and-a-quarter swim slot.
“Moderately priced” learn-to-swim lessons will be available in the mornings from 8 to 10 a.m.
Upcoming improvements to Brooklyn Bridge Park include three soccer fields at Pier Five, said Webster.