FLASHBACK: Haring paints pool as Koch, Cuomo plan park

Keith Haring, left, getting some help from a bearded and swimsuit-clad former Parks Commissioner Henry Stern as the artist painted a mural at the pool at the Carmine St. Recreation Center, since renamed for Tony Dapolito. Photo courtesy NYC Parks Department

BY GABE HERMAN | Page One of The Villager on Aug. 27, 1987, featured two photos of Keith Haring, with “a helping hand from Parks Commissioner Henry Stern,” as Haring worked Aug. 20 on a new mural at the Carmine St. outdoor swimming pool. The caption read, in part, “The 29-year-old artist’s work celebrates swimming and physical fitness and includes his familiar gingerbread-man-like figures on the 150-foot wall adjoining the pool.” The mural, in blue, yellow, black and white, by the legendary Haring is still at the pool to this day.

Also on Page One was an article about Mayor Edward Koch and Governor Mario Cuomo announcing plans to move forward on construction of a highway and waterfront esplanade along the West Side of Manhattan north of Chambers St., based on recommendations from the West Side Task Force.

The announcement also noted, “Appropriate community participation and advice will be incorporated in this effort,” which was a concern for local groups, who didn’t know exactly what their level of involvement would be.

Then-Community Board 2 Chairperson Rosemary McGrath said she was pleased to see some movement forward and the inclusion of an esplanade, but was concerned the door was being left open for private waterfront development.

“Although it’s good news to hear that the Community Boards will participate in the new planning entity for the West Side Highway development,” she said, “there is nothing at present to indicate that we are guaranteed protection from such development.”

The current Route 9A a.k.a. West Side Highway would be completed in 2001. It replaced the West Side Elevated Highway, also known as the Miller Elevated Highway, for Manhattan Borough President Julius Miller; it was closed in 1973 after a section collapsed and torn down in 1987.

Other articles included a voter-registration drive for homeless people held on Aug. 15 at Third St. and sponsored by a group of homeless New Yorkers called the Homeless American Citizens Council, which registered 177 people to vote; and Mayor Koch’s Transitional Housing Plan approved without a new proposed shelter in the East Village on E. First St., after a compromise with Borough President David Dinkins. Many East Village locals, groups and officials strongly opposed building a shelter near the existing E. Third St. Men’s Shelter, which was the biggest one in the city.

Ads in the paper included one for the Sweet Basil jazz club, at 88 Seventh Ave. South between Bleecker and Grove Sts., which was hosting shows as part of the Greenwich Village Jazz Festival ’87; the Waverly Theater, at Third St. and Sixth Ave., showing “Fourth Protocol,” starring Michael Caine, and a cult horror movie called “Street Trash”;  and a posting for “Immediate openings for 2 year olds” at Gingerbread, a daycare center inside P.S. 3 at 490 Hudson St.

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