Astoria’s diving into the arts, not the pool
by Andrew Pavia
Feb 27, 2013 | 1493 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The currently unused diving pool.
The currently unused diving pool.
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Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr. speaking about the proposed project.
Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr. speaking about the proposed project.
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Residents of Astoria are saying goodbye to a diving pool to make way for an amphitheater.

The project is still in its infancy, and was shown to the community last week. It would still have to go through a lengthy review process before it can become a reality.

The estimated cost is over $4 million, more than four times the estimated cost when the project was first proposed back in 2011. Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr. has allocated over $4.5 million to the project.

“We’ve been looking forward to this for a long time,” said Vallone. “Astoria has been lacking in performance spaces for a long time, but turning this eyesore into a beautiful amphitheater will give our Queens artist a backdrop to match their talents.”

This proposed amphitheater will be 37,000 square feet and hold 500 people.

Kevin Quinn, director of architecture with the Parks Department, said the capacity is capped at 500 people because building exits and bathrooms is too expensive.

“It’s either we have a bunch of restrooms with no reason for being there, or we have the stage with no restrooms,” Quinn said.

The Parks Department has said that it will provide temporary bathrooms for the time being until a permanent solution will be met.

The 16-foot-deep diving pool was part of the original pool when it was built in 1936, and was used for Olympic trials more than 40 years ago. However, it has not been used for nearly 30 years.

Vallone has high hopes for the proposed amphitheater.

“Eventually it’s going to be great, maybe the most beautiful theater in New York,” he said. “I mean, what other theater is going to be nestled in between two bridges in a park overlooking the skyline.”

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