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Brooklyn Wading Pool: 1942

Brooklyn Wading Pool: 1942

Children play in a wading pool at a play center at the Red Hook housing development, Brooklyn, New York. The charge to use the pool is nine cents for children, 25 cents for adults. Photograpy by Arthur Rothstein, June, 1942. View full size.

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It's still there.....

I'm sure the wading pool was there because of the picture. Just as well as the movie theatre.
However, it looks like it is the home to a reconstructed track and 4 new basketball courts for all the ball players and future Carmelo Anthony's of RED HOOK. It's also the home to the classic ball games that many come to from all around to watch. It also has a nice sized playground for the children that caters to the ever growing diversified population of people making new memories. Crack doesn't even exist in RED HOOK anymore. If it does you do not see it. I know I don't.
And RED HOOK POOL... it's still there! If RED HOOK is such a bad place to live in and it is so full of drugs and corruption and all the negativity that people are quick to judge and whom obviously doesn't have a clue because they are not from there, then why the sudden urge to move in?

Clinton Street movie theater

I was born in 1943 and lived in the Red Hook housing projects until 1954 when we escaped to suburbia. I have wonderfully fond memories of those days at the pools, at the stadium, at the docks and definitely at the Clinton Street movie theater. I went to P.S. 30.

The Clinton Theater played two features, five cartoons and a serial (Flash Gordon, Tim Tyler's Luck) each Saturday from 11 to about 4.

I learned to ride a bike at Coffey Park, was mugged there, skated and went to see the Yo-yo man each summer when a new yo-yo was introduced.

I'm writing a YA book detailing the life and times of three young boys who live in the housing project during the time of my youth (about 1953). Hope to finish it this winter and publish it as a Kindle book.

This Wadding Pool Location

It is no longer a wadding pool. It was filled in then made into a track. You can see it right across the street from the Red Hook Pool today. I have lived in THE HOOK for 37 years and i remember playing in it and remember it used to be open in the late 70's early 80's.

[Red Hook Pool -- full of wadder, I'll bet. - Dave]

Hooverville in Red Hook

We are two norwegian authors writing a book about the big Hooverville in Columbia Street, in the area where the park is, beside the big grain elevator. if someone knows some old people who lived in Brooklyn in the 1930s, please send e-mail me!

Say What?

Apparently no one has been to Red Hook lately, which boasts both an Ikea and the upscale Fairway Market. Inner city neighborhoods in New York City have become gentrified, you'd have less trouble buying an excellent key lime pie in Red Hook then getting either crack or ammunition.

Wading pool

That wading pool was in the park on Clinton Street across from the much larger Red Hook Pool. When I lived there as a young boy in the 80's it was still there minus the water. I used to ride my bike in that space. It's now filled in and part of quickly disappearing history of Red Hook.

Filled with water

The Red Hook pool that is under discussion here (not the wading pool shown above) today is not filled with some of the things that were asserted below. Rather, it is filled with water. Clean water. And people. A diverse group of families, to be specific.

Red Hook Today

The wading pool is gone. There is no mention of it in the NYC Parks Department web site. The Red Hook swimming pool is still a going concern. It is not filled with broken glass, litter, crack vials, or shell casings. Lost World, I don't know where you're from, but I can tell you that Red Hook today bears almost no resemblance to the red Hook of 20, or even 10 years ago. The projects are still there, and yes, they still suck. The rest of the neighborhood is fast becoming quite the desirable residential neighborhood.

Red Hook Pool

Can't help you with any information about the wading pool. The Red Hook Swimming Pool is still going and is on Lorraine Street.

Possibly dumb question

For those of us who've not lived in an area where such things are common---what exactly is the difference between a tenement and a housing project, and is a tenement just the same as a cheap, seedy apartment? Why should one be more prone to foster crime than another?

Go Ahead...

Shake your heads all you want, and keep telling yourselves that the inner city of today is a wonderful place to be. Should you actually drive through it--as I do daily in places like Trenton, Jersey City, Newark, and Paterson NJ--you might think differently, should you choose to take your blinkers off, that is. The locals, I'm sure, would love to make your acquaintance.


I was born in Red Hook in 1944 and lived there for several years. My aunt lived until sometime in the 70s or 80s. I recognize the look of the building in the background, but neither I nor my older brother remember the wading pool. What street was it on? We lived on Henry Street. We also remember a regular pool very close (I think on it was on Lorraine Street). There was also a park with a pool with sprinklers.

Anyone remember the Clinton Movie theatre?

the mixed blessing of public housing projects

In 1942, when this picture was taken, we as a society, still thought that we could solve poverty by creating consolidated housing projects like the one shown. At their best, resources like this pool were available to kids who might otherwise be swimming in the polluted waters of New York Harbor. But sadly, in the 65 years since, we have discovered that this sort of project actually tends to foster more crime, and can create more abject forms of poverty than the tenaments they replaced. Hence an earlier poster's "crack vials and shell casings", which doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the color of the people living there. I think Red Hook is pretty racially mixed right now.

better satellite view

Charlene, the satellite view you used is off by a few blocks. The pool is still there but a few blocks east.

Or maybe

it has to do with that the original poster believed it to now be a high crime high drug use area.(shakes head as well)

It looks like trees and some kind of play area

A satellite view of the area shows some dark square areas surrounded by trees, possibly basketball courts? The apartment blocks are still there, southwest of the park but still on the same block.

I suppose the "crack vials and shell casings" comment has to do with the fact that the neighbourhood, which was once white, is now mainly black. (shakes head)


I assume this pool was in Red Hook Park, but It's not there at all now.

I ride my bicycle through this area all the time and haven't lost a tire to empty crack vials or shell casings.

Wonder what it looks like today...

Instead of water, that pool is likely filled today with empty crack vials and shell casings.

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