A Fond Farewell To JellyNYC McCarren Park Pool Parties

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We've had a lot of fun together. Friends since day one, I've given you nearly every one of my summer Sundays since that first one in 2006, and you've given me some really great times. As good as they all have been, nothing quite compares to our first day together.

With the sun beating down on the hot concrete,Tim Harrington ran wild, getting beaned by dodgeballs, flopping around in puddles, and soaking himself on the slip'n'slide—all while rocking out. It was fun, fresh and free, without all the hype that now brings in the masses of scenesters.

Scrawny indie kids walked around trying to convince everyone to put themselves in the trajectory of flying rubber balls. Back then it was just a casual game, more fun than competitive. Now it has become battlefield where musclebound studs go to vent their physical aggression. They come with a game plans and unwillingness to lose, in front of nearly as many spectators as the bands.

The lineups are just as good, if not even better. Well-known indie bands share the stage with up-and-coming acts on the verge of blog attention. We've seen Deerhoof, Of Montreal, Blonde Redhead, TV on the Radio, Liars, and so many other great bands. Back in 2006, we never had to worry about lines to get in or the massive space to reach capacity, but two years later MGMT wrapped a never-ending line around the block, with hundreds unable to gain entry.

As is the case with many locals, the Pool Parties have been a major part of my summers in Brooklyn, and will be sorely missed. Yo La Tengo's performance this Sunday should be the perfect close for a great run of shows that perfectly exemplified what makes summers in New York so enjoyable. But alas, I will not be able to go, so I have sadly already seen my last Pool Party.

In many ways, the last two Sundays were throwbacks to the Pool Parties of '06. With an un-hyped lineup of Felice Brothers, Langhorne Slim, and Eli "Paperboy" Reed, and a bit of rain, hardly anyone showed up two weeks ago, reminding me of the Sunday in '06 when The Walkmen, Dr Dog, and Elvis Perkins played to a small crowd sheltered under the protection of umbrellas.

This Sunday was about as perfect as they get with beautiful weather, and though not empty like the week before, it wasn't anywhere near as uncomfortably crowded. One of hip hop's greatest treasures, Aesop Rock, commanded the stage and gave a crowd used to hearing indie rock a little something different.

It may be time to say goodbye to the McCarren Pool Parties, but we know that JellyNYC will be back next year to bring us more fun summer times—just not in McCarren Pool. And having a public pool really isn't all that bad, is it?

[Brian Heater interviewed the JellyNYC crew responsible for all these fun times for this week's edition of NY Press.]

Eli "Paperboy" Reed | 8/10/08

Langhorne Slim | 8/10/08

Felice Brothers| 8/10/08

Dodgeball | 8/10/08

Panther | 8/17/08

Chin Chin | 8/17/08

Aesop Rock | 8/17/08

Photos by [Jonny-Leather]

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