When we launched the idea of + POOL into the world in June of 2010, we had no idea what would happen. We knew it was a necessary and important step for New York's waterfront but we didn't know whether the public would want it, whether the city would allow it or whether anyone would get as excited about it as we were. But we very quickly learned that not only were there thousands of people that wanted and believed in + POOL, but that the only way to build it properly was to get everybody involved.
Now, after two years of development, testing, meetings, presenting, conferencing, hand-shaking, campaigning and coffee drinking we are more excited than ever to make it possible for the city of New York to swim in a clean river. With the incredible support and expertise of engineers at Arup, researchers at Columbia, advocates at MWA, thinkers at IDEO, competitive and open-water swimmers, city and state agencies, waterfront organizations and especially the belief of over 1,200 supporters who pledged money through Kickstarter, we're now closer than ever to getting + POOL in the water.
The opening of the High Line proved two things: that amazing space could be reclaimed for the public if you simply imagined it in a new way, and that anybody can contribute to making something meaningful and beautiful happen in New York City if you truly believed in it.
The Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance launches the first annual City of Water Day. Events, tours, free kayaking and demonstrations take place on Governor's Island and Liberty State Park, bringing thousands of people in closer contact with the waters that surround the city.
Dong wants to talk about an oddly shaped, floating, filtering pool for New York; something that had never been done before and that would undoubtedly suck up way too much time. Archie & Jeff are crazy (overcaffeinated?) enough to say yes.
We spend 4 weeks building a proposal to send out into the world with no idea how people will respond. The site gets 50K hits in 3 days. We get calls from everyone from the New York Times to the Discovery Channel to CBS Eyewitness News.
Dong hears Roland Lewis of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance (MWA) talk about "City of Water Day" on the radio. One email later, the first official +POOL meeting is scheduled.
Planted by the students of the New York Harbor School, the oysters are planted across six artificial reefs built by the Army Corps of Engineers. These new beds make up the largest concentration of bivalves in the harbor in nearly 100 years. The school's goal over the next 40 years is to plant five thousand acres of oyster beds, enough to filter the entire harbor every three days.
Within a week of launching a client-less project, an interested developer invites us to present + POOL to him for a potential site in Manhattan. We walk away after being pitched that it should be a member's-only exclusive beach club.
There are a few brave enough to swim in New York's rivers, and Cara McAteer is one of them. A member of NYC Swim, she swims in the East River year-round - without a wetsuit. Her support of + POOL gives us confidence that swimmers of all types would use the pool.
When we launched, we were looking for help from virtually everyone and anyone but we never considered cold-calling one of the world's most innovative engineering firm. But we get lucky, and they call us. We have lunch, and they pledge their own money to prove that + POOL can happen.
This was the first time we actually see anyone swimming in the East River - hundreds of people no less. If these people swim in the river as-is, how many people would want to swim in safe, clean water?
The talk focuses on the importance of designers launching projects that place the public and environment first. It is the first time we have ever talked on a stage.
We are invited to present the pool to Joshua Laird and NYCDPR. This is awesome for us, and not only because their office is in central park.
Archie speaks in Saudi Arabia to a thousand people. We can't really understand the language, but everybody seems STOKED, even half way around the world.
We present to Jen Klein and Regina Meyer from Brooklyn Bridge Park. It's the first time we've presented to a potential site of the pool. The view of Manhattan from the park is ridiculous.
We meet up with Craig, Nancy, Kristina and Francesca at Arup and see documentation (from engineers!) for the first time that the pool concept is doable. Hi-fives and nervous laughter all around - we now have to make this happen.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announce Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, a 10-year vision for the future of the city's 520 miles of shoreline. This is very encouraging. While we persue a cleaner river from the bottom up, a concerted effort to take better care of New York's waterways is being made from the top down.
We call on Jason and Joey of GYLo to help us film and edit a video for Kickstarter. Kelsey, Marta, Cara and the Arup team are naturals in front of camera. We have to drive down to Richmond to refilm our part since we were nervous wrecks the first time around.
We talk about the pool on WFUV at Fordham University for "Summer in the City." Our segment is followed by an interview with manufacturers that have been making beach umbrellas since 1933. We'd like to use them on + POOL.
We set an ask of $25K which will help pay for the first round of filtration material testing. This is the first time we've ever asked anyone to give us money. Is this where our good fortune ends?
Validation from the architecture and design community. The social aspect of Architizer means that many of our closest peers will see the post, which is a little nerve wracking as architects can be real assholes sometimes. But everything is awesome and now Architizer is our media partner.
Validation from the building and real estate community. Curbed is a pretty great barometer of what's being built, sold, designed and planned in New York, and they've been one of our strongest supporters.
Validation from everyone else. Even my mom was excited about these. The pluspool site crashes from too much traffic.
The combination of novel design and business model of this project is one of the more interesting aspects of the project, so it was great to see + POOL talked about in Fast Company.
A number of local papers called and wrote articles about the pool and the Kickstarter campaign. It was pretty weird to see + POOL articles while waiting for a sandwich at the corner bodega.
"One day I'll tell my kids, 'Look this is something your dad helped to build,'" - Xi Huang
Our ask of $25K is met within the first week. Our minds are absolutely blown. The fact that so many people are willing to put their money towards a large-scale piece of civic infrastructure on Kickstarter is simply amazing.
Hi, Clover Moore! We are now working with Stacey Ryan, our Aussie rep, and Natasha from Arup Sydney, and meeting with local and governmental agencies down under to study Sydney + POOL.
That's right, Wall Street Journal, maybe it's not.
We share some popsicles with reporter Darla Miles and perfect both the 'walk-and-talk' and the 'stare out contemplatively over the water' moves.
We are interviewed along the waterfront for a piece on Kickstarter and all of the amazing projects it's helped, uh, kickstart. Proud to be a part of it!
Archie is rudely awoken to the fact that his expected 3pm talk has been moved forward to 8:30am. Coffee, once again, for better or worse, saves the day.
We present what is effectively an engineering project to a room full of engineers. Engineers really like their cheese cubes. So many cheese cubes.
Did anybody see this? Does anyone have a photo of it or anything? If so, let us know! This is probably what "if I can make it here, I can make it anywhere" is referring to.
We set up a booth at the flea in Williamsburg. We print out a giant + POOL banner and talk to a ton of people. Most people are excited, but some are disappointed that we're not selling brisket.
IDEO has a "teatime" series where they invite people to present to the whole of the New York office. We are invited and it is really fun. Everyone at IDEO just seems so excited about what they are doing that we love going back as much as we can.
If you are a Kickstarter backer reading this right now, THANK YOU. Seriously, this entire campaign was incredible from beginning to end and the first big and significant affirmation of + POOL. This opened so many doors for the project.
Mayor Mike officially unveils Phase 1 of the $84 million East River Esplanade project. The two-miles of improvements along the East River in Lower Manhattan extend from the Battery Maritime Building to Montgomery Street in Lower East Side. The project will eventually extend up to 14th St.
The first of our Kickstarter backer incentives arrives and in the interest of quality control we test each and every one for beer chilliness retention. Good news: they all work.
Mr. The Force interviews for an architecture and design position and somehow ends up running six weeks of water quality testing from a trailer out in the middle of Brooklyn Bridge Park's construction yard. He is excellent at it.
We turn the + POOL office into a mini-USPS shipping center. One week and four carloads to the post office later, we ship out all the incentives. There is a still a big roll of bubble wrap here.
With the help of Professor Wade and Diana from Columbia University, we take a crash course in water-quality analysis. We learn all about turbidity, enterococci and how long to keep fecal samples in the oven for accurate results.
We test for 17 different parameters over the course of 6 weeks, conducting some of the most detailed water-quality analysis ever done in the East River. Results are awesomely positive, though there are some funny things in these rivers.
If you ever have the urge to swim in the river sans + POOL, best not to do it directly following a major storm. Shit is literally everywhere.
BQ, ecological consultant, landscape designer, NYC bureaucracy insider, joins the team and helps guide us through the murky waters of permitting, approvals and political support.
We saw Michael speak at Vision 2020 conference with Amanda Burden a few months before this and we are excited to get the chance to present the pool to him. As the DCP's Director of the Waterfront and Open Space Planning, we're honored to have his support.
The first order-of-magnitude cost estimate comes back from Arup at $21.5 million for everything. Totally doable considering the cost of NYC civic projects like Pier 35 ($25m), McCarren Pool ($50m) and the Highline ($150m).
Councilman Lander represents District 39, from Brooklyn Bridge Park inward through Carroll Gardens and Park Slope. He's the first member of the city's government that we present to and his enthusiasm for the project gives us hope as we dive into the NY political world.
The pool is included in Curbed's "Adventure's in Urban Planning" awards. Not sure how much competition there was for this category, but honored nonetheless!
Just like Councilman Lander, Councilman Levin is incredibly supportive and helpful. He oversees District 33, BBP up to Greenpoint along the water. We're beginning to feel that there's a good number of city representatives that really want to make the waterfront a better place.
Yes, everyone at Nike wears head to toe Nike. You'd think if you worked in athletics that you wouldn't want to talk about athletics all the time, but they do, nonstop. Corporate or otherwise, it's always amazing to be around others that are absolutely in love with what they do.
We all thought the meeting was going downhill at first, but it turns out that the State Senator is just very blunt and aggressive in meetings. That's cool with us. He seems to get a lot of things done and really wants a floating pool.
Governor's Island is amazing. Have you been there? You should go because it is one of the most magical places in New York. It's pretty utopian out there, and we like to think the pool is too.
The work that's been done up and down the Hudson River is mind-blowing. It seems like everyone out there along the river is doing some kind of healthy, sporty, better-living activity. Swimming in clean river water seems like a perfect fit.
Besides making things like the 9/11 memorial, "Tribute in Light" and The Livable Communities Program happen, MAS organizes the annual Summit for New York City to make this entire place more livable for everybody. Getting their support is huge.
We finally make our way up the Hudson to the office of Riverkeeper. It's a beautiful train ride and a great chat with one of the river's most fervent advocates. If you pollute the rivers, Riverkeeper will find you.
We are incredibly proud to get the backing of Eva Franch and her crew at Storefront, who have put on some of the best and most progressive exhibits and discussions on art and architecture in New York and beyond.
Opened in 1936, McCarren pool was one of 11 public pools opened in New York City during the hottest summer on record in the United States. After being shut-down for 28 years, a 30-month, $50 million renovation reopens the 1,500 capacity pool to the public. It becomes the 55th outdoor pool operated by the NYC parks department.
On October 1 we launch 'Everybody + POOL', a new fundraising campaign aimed at rallying together for one simple goal: to make the water clean to swim in. + POOL is for Everybody, and we need Everybody for + POOL.
A public exhibition and education pavilion that will host a live, full-scale test pool in the East River where new and experimental water-filtration materials and techniques will be assessed for their use in + POOL. The Pavilion will be the home to a three-month public forum including a series of exhibitions, discussions and events that will highlight the importance of innovative and ecological design and planning for the New York City's waterfront. The Pavilion will make topics and discussions typically reserved for architects, engineers, scientists and policy makers open and accessible to the greater public, with programs involving children and families, local communities and global innovators.
The final site analyses and environmental reports are completed and filed. Events, programming and partnerships are outlined for the opening season and beyond. Which way should the pool be rotated for the best view? Will swimmers be able to sunbathe on shore as well as on the pool? Should we get a popsicle vendor or an ice cream vendor?
The remaining approvals and permits are approved. City and state support is collected. Construction Documents are completed. Bidding is underway. Contracts are signed.
Blue Ivy takes swimming lessons in preparation. Don't be jealous, Jay, you're invited too.