Looking to lay out? You should. Sunshine and vitamin D help build strong bones and give you a healthy glow. Here are our six favorite places to work on a tan. By Jessica Allen.
On the second floor of the Dream Downtown Hotel in Chelsea sits an oasis. Aptly called The Beach, this 4,800-square-foot heated pool lets swimmers peer down at guests arriving in the lobby below (and that means, of course, they can see you. Wear your best suit.). You can lay on the Cote D’Azur-inspired chaise lounges, sip a cocktail in one of the private cabanas, or just marvel at the actual (imported) sand. Pool attendants are on hand to supply sunscreen or mist you with Evian. It’s not free, but few things are.
Hudson River Park
The longest waterfront park in the United States has plenty of places to park yourself and soak up the sun—more than 550 acres, or about 5 miles, in fact. Among the park’s treasures are playgrounds, benches, memorials, sculptures, fishing areas, piers, outdoor movies, concerts, terrific views of New Jersey, dog runs, dance lessons, boat docks where you can set off onto the river or watch vessels being built, and lots and lots of grassy knolls. Stake a claim, spread your towel, and watch the afternoon go by in a flash.
Russian & Turkish Baths
As part of the price of admission to the Russian & Turkish Baths in the East Village, you get full use of the outdoor sundeck, with padded chairs and benches. You also get to schvitz in the redwood sauna or bake in the Russian sauna, in which 20,000 pounds of rock are “cooked” every night, or you can cool down in the “ice cold” pool or the aromatherapy room. These baths have been around since the 1890s, but recent upgrades mean you won’t know it. Check the calendar before you go, as some days are women or men only.
Certainly the secret’s out about this park, but that doesn’t make Central Park any less fun for sunbathing. You can join the crowds on the Sheep Meadow, where sheep once grazed, or head off into a more secluded corner. All told, Central Park has about 250 acres of lawn. When you tire of soaking up the rays, you can watch a baseball or softball game, listen for birds in the Ramble, admire the flowers, trees, and shrubs, take a stroll over one of its 36 bridges, visit the zoo or the castle, ride the carousel, play checkers or chess, paddle a boat, or go fishing.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Great Kills Park
Part of Staten Island’s Gateway National Recreation Area, Great Kills Park sits on more than 580 acres. The name “Great Kills” comes from a Dutch word meaning “many creeks.” The park has lots of water, with beaches to match—four in fact: Oakwood Beach, Cedar Grove Beach, Fox Beach, and New Dorp Beach, home to one of the earliest permanent European settlements in the area. This park also has the only osprey nesting site in the borough, complete with special nesting platforms provided for the birds.