If you logged on to read The New York Times two weeks ago, none other than Greenpoint’s new cerulean-bottomed McCarren Park Pool graced its front page. To be sure, everyone’s talking about its June 28 opening. Most shrieks of anticipation reference highlights from the pool’s past, like its opening in 1936 during the hottest summer on record for the U.S., its closure in 1983, and concerts from when it was turned into a makeshift venue from 2005 to 2008 hosting the likes of Feist, Iron and Wine, Neko Case, Joanna Newsom, and Martha Wainwright. Renovation construction began four years ago.
But what did the pool look like just prior to its extreme makeover? Brooklyn-based photographer Gina Pollack decided to find out. With camera in hand, she slipped between the construction fences bordering the place in 2009. In the height of the excitement this week in the gallery of Greenpoint mixed-use space The One Well, she exposes footage of the once-abandoned, decaying mass in its most decrepit state, which feels intensified when contrasted with recent images of the pool’s pristine skin.
The series, titled Where They Swam, will be shown alongside Pollack’s earlier body of work, Other Relics. The latter consists of fluctuating environments spanning Seattle, Israel, Prague, and other spaces that are shifting due to natural causes, external forces, political turmoil, or the human footprint. Shown together, Pollack draws out similarities between habitats that are touched and left untouched by outside influences.
Gina Pollack’s Where They Swam/Other Relics runs from June 8 to July 8.