Sunday, September 11, 2011

Princeton's Community Park Pool--Endings and Beginnings

Princeton's Community Park Pool, poised for the wrecking ball beginning tomorrow, September 12, cast quite a spell on longtime Princeton residents. For most of my seven years as a member, it seemed serviceable but not extraordinary in any way, except of course for Larry Ivan's signature closing refrain. Only when I began hearing the eloquent testimonials, delivered at public meetings about its planned redesign, did I begin seeing this unassuming pool complex in a new way.

Surprisingly, it was the changing rooms, which looked like dull boxes from the outside, that received the most rhapsodic treatment by residents at the meetings. Inside, they were lavishly spacious, with large portals to the sky. The building breathed effortlessly, and like a deep breath conveyed to those within a feeling of expansiveness and relaxation.

If there was a theme that permeated the complex, it was the way it played with light. Lap swimmers had plenty of time to notice the infinite patterns of light dancing on the bottom of the pool. The buildings, as if to emulate the water, would allow light to pass through open beams, or portals in the roofs, casting shadows whose angles would shift through the day--quiet reminders of the sun's arcing passage across the sky.

The complexity of patterns in the water was mimicked by the weathering of the wood.

A new, redesigned pool complex will emerge in coming months, to open next summer. It will no doubt have more efficient pumps, better filters, and make more efficient use of space. Solar panels may sprout on the rooftops. A waterslide will entertain.

But for now, I'm grateful to have caught a glimpse of something soulful and profound beneath the old pool's simple facades.

Another homage to the pool, with more photos and text, is posted at

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Communiversity and Recycling

Princeton borough just received an $18,000 "tonnage grant" from the state. This is an annual grant, fluctuating year to year, to be used for recycling in the borough. In the past, the borough has simply used the money to help pay the county for routine curbside recycling service, but the money can also be used for initiatives that would actually improve recycling in town. Here's a post started back in April that shows one of the many ways recycling could be improved in Princeton, through a mix of education and smart placement of receptacles.

Traffic streeeeetched all the way to Moore Street,
as Communiversity 2011 drew some 40,000 people to downtown Princeton.
It was a fun party, and everything appeared to go smoothly, except for the traditional lack of recycling. I'm sure that outdoor events in Princeton have to conform to various rules and regulations, and one of them should be that, when an event includes vendors selling beverages in recyclable containers, receptacles for recyclables need to be paired with all trash cans.

When people have a clearly marked choice, they recycle, as shown here in a borough park.