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New York's +POOL hopes to shore up public support with new campaign

The team behind +POOL is getting a big-name backer, and hoping to educate the masses about its vision

Renderings by Family, Courtesy + POOL

It’s been seven years since the team behind +POOL proposed a seemingly outlandish idea: Why not create a floating pool that would reside in New York’s waterways and have the ability to filter the polluted water, cleansing the rivers piece by piece?

In that time, the team—which includes Oana Stanescu, Dong-Ping Wong, and Cass Nakashima of Family NY, plus Archie Lee Coates IV and Jeff Franklin of Playlab—has taken many small steps toward realizing the aquatic project, including launching two successful Kickstarter campaigns to raise funds and conducting feasibility studies (including one in the Hudson River) to see if its technology is viable.

But while all of this has been happening, one major element of the +POOL—its final location—has yet to be announced, and updates on the project have been minimal since last summer. Designers are hoping to work with the city to allow for +POOL to live off one of the piers at Brooklyn Bridge Park, but the official line is that all options are still being considered.

While that’s being determined, the +POOL team has partnered with Heineken-sponsored “The Cities Project”, which will donate $100,000 to the cause once +POOL successfully garners 100,000 pledges on a new site, befittingly launched on Earth Day, SwimInTheRiver.com. So far, it’s just above 400 signatures and the drive is hoping to reach its goal by the end of the summer.

+POOL has also enlisted the help of Joshua David, co-founder of the High Line, to help bring the pool to life. “One of the things that was appealing to me was that [+POOL] is not the High Line,” says David. “I talk to a lot of people who want to put parks on bridges and on top of anything they can put a park on or underneath. But this was something... that was a seemingly virtually impossible way of experiencing the urban condition that is attached to history.”

The +POOL team has also paired with the Tribeca Film Festival to create a documentary about their work; for now, a short promo video about the project will air before each film screened at this year’s festival.

In August, support from Heineken will underwrite public artwork +POOL is programming for an as-yet-determined New York City river: a light installation scaled to the size of the future pool. The installation is meant to respond in real-time to shifts in water quality, offering both a lesson in the health of the river and a visible representation of how +POOL aims to transform the waterfront.