The Unbearable Banishment: New York City = Crazy Town, U.S.A.

Monday, August 23, 2010

New York City = Crazy Town, U.S.A.

I've written posts about the crazy outdoor art installations that pop up throughout the summer. There were giant statues in the shape of famous photos, a bunch of painted pianos scattered around town and a group of models strolling on top of a big, wooden cube. But this last one is just plain crazy.

The fun folk at MacroSea have elevated the term dumpster-diving to a new art form. As part of the Summer Streets festival, they have taken clean, unused shipping containers and transformed them into swimming pools. Now, that's recycling.


They're set up on weekends at 40th Street and Park Avenue. MacroSea mounted an underground, unannounced version of this last year in Brooklyn and the response was so positive that they brought it to Manhattan this summer.


The area around the containers is lined with beach chairs and they have hula-hoops on hand. It's a real festive atmosphere and there aren't any drunken idiots there to ruin it for everyone.


Each container has a deck and a lifeguard. Swimming is free! That's the best part of these outdoor installations. You don't pay a cent. Wristbands are handed out on a first come/first served basis. There's a time limit so that everyone gets a turn. That's Grand Central Station in the background. It's been an insanely hot, dry summer and this is just the thing for parched city dwellers who can't escape.

All images by Inhabitat.

* * *

I'm not one of these old school New Yorkers who bitch and moan about how the city had been sanitized and Disney-fied and robbed of its soul. I remember the dark years when it was quite dangerous to walk the streets and parks after dark and, believe me, this is much better. But I think they may have finally crossed a line.

They just opened a Pop Tarts Store in Times Square. A fucking Pop Tarts Store?! It's called Pop Tarts World. Criminy! This is on the heels of the M&Ms Store and the Hershey's Chocolate Store, which I kind of get, but I don't feel good about this one.


It's finally too much for me. Do we need a place that sells specialty Pop Tarts? Nay. I disapprove. Please take it away.

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18 Comments:

Blogger Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

The outdoor swimming pool is a fantastic idea. I wish I'd been there to have a dip, especially in the heat of New York. Not sure it would work as well in London, besides, we have rain puddles to swim in.

As for the Pop Tart World...see, I kept wondering into these M&M world places in America (Vegas and NY) for curiosity sake, and hating every second I could bear within their walls. Crammed with screaming children high on chocolate covered peanuts, parents buying all manner of shit merchandise, and hoards of people buying bags of sweets that you can buy for about $5 less in Walgreens two doors down. Eurgh. Horrible "shopping" experience and a sense of the "what other items can we brand with this name?" mentality.

August 23, 2010 at 8:09 AM  
Blogger Everyday Goddess said...

those pools are great, and i'm glad people are behaving.

pop tarts? i haven't had one since the last century and i don't think i'll pick up the habit again.

unless they opened an all milk bar next door, with bugs bunny cartoons playing all day on the giant screen tv.

August 23, 2010 at 8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just looking at the door of the pop tart store makes me dizzy.

I wonder how long you have to wait to go swimming? It seems there are only a few that may fit at a time. What a great idea, although I hope that is all they are used for; sort of grosses me out thinking about swimming in a dumpster. I know they are new/clean unused containers...it's just the thought.
MT

August 23, 2010 at 8:38 AM  
Blogger jason quinones said...

because the people within close proximity of PARK FUCKING AVENUE REEEALLLY need more outdoor luxuries like free swimming pools!

the rest of new york will do with just blasting open the fire hydrants...until the fire department comes around to shut it down...or at least cap the hydrant with a sprinkler.

August 23, 2010 at 9:36 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

The swimming pool looks cool. Hardy har.

I hate M&M World. I just want to crush those M&M guys open with a big mallet. Perhaps I'm a wee bit hostile. I'll have to bring that up with the warden.

August 23, 2010 at 10:49 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Jo: I visited the M&Ms store in Times Square once on a dare. People may think you're writing with a lot of hyperbole but it really is as awful as you describe.

EG: I don't even like Pop Tarts! Too much bread; not enough filling. New York also played host to a restaurant that only sold grilled cheese sandwiches and another that sold peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

MT: Yeah, it's a small pool. Much smaller than yours. But it gets the job done for hot city dwellers.

Jason: Something tells me this has nothing to do with Park Av residents. It's kind of cool seeing it right outside of Grand Central. And remember; last summer they were located in Brooklyn.

Robin: Your hostility is warranted. These stores are quite, quite awful. I think they're more appropriate for a carnival like Las Vegas but they seem out of place on 7th Avenue.

August 23, 2010 at 11:57 AM  
Blogger kyknoord said...

I imagine those pools are a rich source of vitamin P.

August 23, 2010 at 12:23 PM  
Anonymous dinahmow said...

I had to Google pop tarts! And I find they are junk food, pushed by Kelloggs.Oh! The irony!

August 23, 2010 at 6:09 PM  
Blogger JZ said...

I imagine that working out the technical difficulties for this year's guerilla Macro-Sea event may take more than the year for the pools:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/12/arts/design/12glass.html

i'd love to see how they make that open to more of the general public.

As far as Pop Tarts go....I thought you were talking about some throw back to the old 42nd Street history. (Oh! bah-dum-dum.... I'm here all week!)

August 23, 2010 at 7:57 PM  
Blogger mapstew said...

Funnily, I read about this last week and you were the first person I thought of! :¬)

August 23, 2010 at 9:07 PM  
Anonymous daisyfae said...

i thought David Letterman was joking about the 'dumpster pools', but it's pretty brilliant.

what i don't get about the pop tarts store: what does that retail space cost? perhaps some of the most expensive real estate in the USA, if not the world, and they're selling pop tarts? ouch.

August 23, 2010 at 9:27 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

kykn: Yeah, public pools kind of skeeve me out a bit. Public phones, too.

Dinah: They don't taste very good. They're kind of bland. Another American cultural icon.

JZ: “Glassphemy!" is a fantastic name and a great exhibit. Where the hell was I? Asleep at the wheel again.

Map: That means I've seeped my way into your subconscious. Mwwhahaha! My evil influence spreads like mold.

Daisy: Actually, I think a lot of these stores are loss leaders. They lose money on the retail but raise brand awareness so much that it results in overall profits.

August 23, 2010 at 9:38 PM  
Anonymous nursemyra said...

Love the pools. Have never seen a pop tart and don't intend to. Will just shut my eyes if I ever walk past the store. Hope I don't fall in a pool....

August 24, 2010 at 4:13 AM  
Blogger TechnoBabe said...

This is really fun to see things in New York through the eyes of a local. I am surprised at the Pop Tarts store and it goes to show people addicted to shopping will wander into whatever store is placed in front of them.

August 24, 2010 at 9:51 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

So glad there are life guards.

August 24, 2010 at 4:32 PM  
Anonymous Sid said...

I hate you. Seriously. This pool/dumpster installation sounds like too much fun.

Anyway, I've never eaten a pop tart. I thought they were a breakfast item? Anyway, will see if I can find one later tonight.

August 25, 2010 at 5:09 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Nurse: I'm tempted to call classify that front door as an art installation but it gives me a headache when I look at it.

TB: Yes, happiness through Pop Tarts. Haven't you heard? It's a rebuke to the slow food movement.

Pat: No doubt it's a legal necessity. I can't imagine they're actually needed.

Sid: Would you go swimming? I liked watching but passed on a dip.

August 25, 2010 at 6:18 AM  
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