Dumpster diving has never been this fun


David Belt's 6-year-old daughter Natascha will always remember where she learned to swim: in a dumpster. Over the Fourth of July weekend, Belt, a real-estate developer and president of the arts organization Macro-Sea, in Brooklyn, N,Y., created a temporary D.I.Y. country club on a construction lot, complete with cabanas, changing room and three industrial-sized dumpsters converted into swimming pools.

"It's a little bit Eastern Bloc out here," Belt says, smiling, as he sits in one of the white cabanas built by his wife, Antonia, who sewed the coverings. Just feet away is a bocce court; beyond it, rows of Ikea lawn chairs sit beneath a narrow canopy of colored lights strung across the lot.

Belt's guests congregate around a long table and grill, and a professional lifeguard watches the bonanza of kids splashing around in three 30-cubic-yard dumpsters, connected by a deck. For Belt and his partners in Macro-Sea, creative director Alix Feinkind and project manager Jocko Weyland, this has been an unforgettable summer, heralding the beginning of something even more ambitious.

The idea to create this temporary urban paradise was inspired by a trip to Athens, Ga., where Belt had heard of the local band Pylon once turning a dumpster into a swimming pool. Passionate about sustainable and novel ways to convert public spaces, Belt and Macro-Sea want to recreate this summer's experiment on a much larger scale: turning an abandoned strip-mall in Atlanta into a D.I.Y. urban fun zone. Belt envisions 40 dumpster pools, upscale food trucks from local restaurants selling a healthful alternative to artery-clogging fast food, and plots of land for people to grow their own food.

If you think it sounds crazy, Weyland assures that no one, including him, believed at first that they were going to go through with the "dumpster diving." But for a look at how to convert a dumpster into a swimming pool, including how much it costs -- a lot less than you might think -- watch this video. Macro-Sea will soon be putting out a D.I.Y. guide.

Originally published