An Abandoned Pool in Queens Will Become a Unique Outdoor Theater

© Office of Council Member Peter F. Vallone Jr.

For nearly 30 years, the dive pool at Astoria Park in Queens, New York has sat empty and unused. Once used as a training ground for aspiring Olympians, it is now an eyesore, while the adjacent swimming pool, the oldest and largest in New York City, is as popular as ever. But thanks to Council Member Peter F. Vallone Jr. and Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski, the diving pool is set to be transformed into a one of a kind outdoor theater.

The pool will be filled with concrete and debris and the small diving boards will be removed. Seating areas and a perimeter walkway will be installed, along with a tent canopy for the bleachers. The triple diving board will remain in place. $1 million has been allocated for the project.

ericskiff/CC BY 2.0 The Astoria Park pool is still in use today.

The result will be an outdoor performance space reminiscent of Ancient Greek theaters, but against a uniquely New York backdrop. Astoria Park sits on the East River, between the Triborough and Hell Gate Bridges, with a view of the Manhattan skyline.

Taryn Sacramone, Executive Director for the Astoria Performing Arts Center, said:

It will draw people to Astoria, and provide artists with a unique space to share their talents. The location is absolutely inspired and the possibilities are endless. Astoria will be much richer for it.

Construction should begin next year, will a tentative finish date set for 2013. The project is a terrific example of how public, urban spaces can be creatively transformed, and continue to serve the public long after they seem to have outlived their purpose.

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Tags: New York City | Reusability | Urban Planning

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