I attended my first Pool Party of the year, as much of a Sunday institution as kickball and 16 ounce Styrofoam cups in McCarren Park. The parties have been a symbol of hipsterdom for the past four years and the New York Times described its frequenters as “the hippest of New York’s hipsters.”
As odious as anything being described as the hippest of the hip may already seem, the parties have lost a lot of luster since moving from the actual pool to the East River Park last year: they couldn’t manage to do away with dodge ball (although it is significantly marginalized), but there is no Slip N’ Slide, and perhaps the greatest indignity is that alcoholic beverages are confined to a certain zone. Gone are the days when native son, wild child frontman of Les Savvy Fav, Tim Harrington bantered nostalgic about shooting up in the old pool or when Pratt kids Matt & Kim brought a marching band out in front of the packed house (their packed house came yesterday at Siren Fest).
As with most of the outdoor shows in New York this year, there is a checkpoint where they check your person (primarily for items they sell inside, such as water, at least that’s the only thing I saw confiscated), another checkpoint where they check your ID and give you a wristband, a booth where you buy drink tickets, and another checkpoint (complete with turnstiles) that you go through to the certain zone where you can redeem your drink tickets. This certain zone isn’t particularly close to the stage or anything for that matter, except booths that sell you stuff.
Everyone is all too eager to pronounce the deaths of things and it’s not too hard to hear the rattle when the Times is calling you the hippest of the hip and you’re at the center of a bit of Chuck Schumer business, hipsters are also not the easiest group to defend, most commonly associated with trust funds, pretension, and moderate to heavy cocaine use, but the old Pool Parties were about people getting together to have a good time and not having to spend a lot of money to do it. Aside from not having a pool or really being free, these parties are missing the only indispensable ingredient: kids having fun.
PS- The Murder City Devils were great.