New Deal Washington Square - Photo #19 - Tony Dapolito Recreation Center

Tony Dapolito Recreation Center (formerly the Carmine Street Recreation Center) at the intersection of Carmine Street, 7th Avenue South, Clarkson Street, and Varick Street in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, adjacent to James J. Walker Park. Photo: April 23, 2018.

Pool at Dapolito Recreation Center
Pool at Dapolito Recreation Center
The recreation center was designed by the architectural firm Renwick, Aspinwall and Tucker and opened in 1908, serving primarily as a public bathhouse with bathubs and showers on the first two floors, plus a gym and some classrooms. An indoor pool was added in 1920. In 1938 all bathhouses in New York City came under the jurisdiction of the Department of Parks. This one and eight others were renovated by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to "increase the play and swimming pool facilities by modernizing the present antiquated fixtures and layout"[1].

Furthermore an outdoor pool was designed by New Deal architect Aymar Embury II, built with WPA labor, and opened in 1939[2,3,4]. In 2004 the recreation center was renamed in memory of Greenwich Village resident and activist Tony Dapolito. Keith Haring painted the mural on the wall adjacent to the pool in 1987; it is known as the Carmine Street Mural.

  1. NYC Parks Department Press Release, March 10, 1938: Renovation of nine bathhouses, including the one at 81-85 Carmine Street. "There will be a considerable amount of work on all these facilities in modernizing and repairing the mechanical, purification and filtration equipment, and repairing and installing piping, heating and ventilating equipment, all of which will be done by W.P.A. forces."
  2. Parks Department Press Release, June 10, 1939, announcing an opening ceremony of "a new outdoor swimming pool in Hudson Park". Included among the honorees was Alexander MacGregor of the Works Progress Administration. "The adjacent bath building, transferred from the Borough President of Manhattan under the new City Charter, has been completely renovated to provide increased recreational facilities. Besides containing men and women's locker and shower rooms and comfort stations, it also houses on the second floor a large gymnasium and large play room. On the mezzanine floor there is a running track, while on the roof of the building there is a large fenced-in play area." NOTE: This press release also announces the opening of two other renovated and modernized public bath buildings: one at 232 West 60th Street and 35 West 134th Street. "The work in connection with these improvements was planned by the Department of Parks and performed by the Works Progress Administration."
  3. Tony Dapolito Recreation Center, NYC Department of Parks website, accessed 24 April 2018.
  4. Last Splash of Summer, Off the Grid, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, 29 August 2013.
  5. Cool off at the Tony Dapolito Center, Off the Grid, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, 9 July 2012 (has a photo of Dapolito and of the pool with water in it).