The field at McCarren Park is back open after its yearlong restoration and it looks and feels great. It’s just missing the soccer goals and football uprights.
Fortunately, the millions of stray rubber pellets are gone. And for now, so is all the garbage and urine.
I ran on the track and the field on Feb. 16 and I didn’t have to pick any pills from my socks. An hour on the old field meant mandatory vacuum time at home because once you took your shoes and socks off, a portion of the field spilled out.
I love McCarren and it is undoubtedly where I have played the most soccer, did the most outdoor exercise, hung out the most with friends.
The park opened in 1910. The pool across the street — with capacity for 6,800 swimmers — in 1936. More than century later, the demographics and income levels of Williamsburg and Greenpoint have changed, but like all successful municipal spaces, the field still unites people of diverse backgrounds for birthdays, games and outdoor workout classes.
The soccer field is especially popular among Latin American immigrants, kids from Automotive High School, Greenpoint’s Polish community — and former Polish residents who have moved to Queens or New Jersey but come back for soccer — and more recent residents, like the wealthy condo-dwellers and young hipsters.
In addition to the resurfaced field, the Parks Department added a brand new track and moved the exercise equipment to a different location. There used to be wooden obstacles and exercise benches next to the corner of the track near along Lorimer Street near Driggs.
Now there is a European-style outdoor gym with resistance equipment, like shoulder press and fly machines, along with pull-up and parallel bars. The new gym is at the corner of the track in the shadow of the luxury condos where Bayard meets Roebling.
The Parks Department removed one of the sandy bocce courts to add the equipment, but there is still one court left.
Now, the city just has to fix the swampy ballfields at the other part of the park.