New Take On Dumpster Diving: Just Add Water!

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Dumpster swimming pool in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Jon Kalish for NPR

On an industrial lot in Brooklyn, N.Y., three garbage bins have been transformed into swimming pools. They're set in what looks like an urban country club — with tent cabanas, barbecue grills and a dozen plastic beach chairs.

The Picture Show: Abandoned Pools

While some are turning their attention to dumpsters, others are focusing on forgotten public pools. Gigi Cifali hide caption

Photo Gallery: Abandoned Pools
itoggle caption Gigi Cifali

The idea of swimming in a trash container grosses you out? Think again. They're clean. The bins are lined with thick sheets of plastic, and the water is chlorinated and filtered, just like what goes in an inground pool.

The company behind the pools is Macro Sea, a Manhattan real estate developer. Jocko Weyland, the guy in charge of the pool project, says Macro Sea got the idea from a rock musician in Georgia.

The pools are behind a chain-link fence in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood. The 5 1/2 foot-deep containers are in an H-formation with a wooden deck built around them. There's also a shallower kiddie pool.

News of the Brooklyn trash bin swimming pools first surfaced on a blog for ReadyMade magazine, which helps do-it-yourselfers use familiar objects in new ways.

"It's a Dumpster. It's not trying to pretend it's not a Dumpster, you know," Weyland says.

Access to the Carroll Gardens pools is by invitation only, but there is no fee to swim. Brooklyn resident Isabella Hill and her friend recently scored an invitation to the pools, which Hill thought were an art installation.

"I didn't really hear the exact details about it being a Dumpster and we just, like, walked over here and there's all these, like, warehouses, junkyards and, like, industrial stuff," says Hill. "We live in the neighborhood, and so I'm not going to trek out to the beach for an hour when I can sit around and watch TV all day and go to the pool."

The Carroll Gardens pools are a prototype. Macro Sea is thinking about putting garbage-container pools in its redeveloped strip malls and also making them available to rent for private parties.

Weyland says he hopes more people make these DIY pools.

"We wanted to show that this is not that hard. If you got a Dumpster donated or found one or stole one, you could do it for under $1,000. Show some initiative. Get off your ass and put it together," Weyland says.

Then throw a party and invite your friends.

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