3. McCarren Park Pool hides a secret network of tunnels

tunnels under McCarren Park Pool

Designated as a historic landmark, the McCarren Park Pool was created by Robert Moses in 1936 as one of 11 public pools made with funding from the Works Progress Administration. Opened in a record-breaking heatwave, the pool was meant to alleviate poor health conditions and provide recreational space in the predominantly working-class neighborhood. It measured 330 by 165 feet and could accommodate 6,800 swimmers at a time. It had the largest bathhouse of all 11 pools and its design was inspired by the ancient Baths of Caracalla in Rome.

To support the filtration systems, heating units, and underwater lighting, a series of tunnels were built under the perimeter of the pool. They connected the boiler room under the entrance to the filtration plant in the rear. The pool fell into disrepair in the 1980s and was abandoned until 2005, when a series of concerts and dance performances in the empty pool renewed public interest, leading to its designation as a historic landmark and eventual renovation.