What’s your plan for when the heat hits? New York City has plenty of beaches, sure, but it also has tons and tons of glorious pools, more than 30 in fact. Outdoor pools are free, open from June through Labor Day, and a fun way to while away the day. Might we recommend our five favorites, listed below? And, if you need to learn to swim, the city’s got you covered on that front too. By Jessica Allen.
Related: 5 Best Beaches In New York City
The city’s oldest and largest pool owes its existence to Robert Moses, an avid swimmer who ensured that the fine folks of Queens would have a place to do laps and take a dip. This 330-foot pool has amazing views of the Triborough Bridge, Hells Gate Bridge, and Manhattan skyline, as well as two mushroom fountains shooting water 25 feet into the air. If you’re feeling aerodynamic, head over to the 32-foot-high platform at the separate Olympic regulation diving pool.
What this pool lacks in size, it more than makes up for in location. As you might guess from the name, the Brooklyn Bridge Pop-Up Pool is situated in Brooklyn Bridge Park, near the Brooklyn Bridge (and Smorgasburg, for snacks and treats on Sundays). Entry is timed, on a first-come, first-served basis (the pool is, after all, just 30 by 50 feet). But once you’re in, you also get to enjoy the sandy “beach” next door and glimpses of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty as you splash and dunk.
Manhattan has more than a dozen public pools in the borough, but the one on Carmine Street is our go-to, and not just because it’s located on a lovely street in the West Village. No, we love this pool because of its Keith Haring mural, an artful array of abstract shapes, fish, and kids in black, white, yellow, and blue, completed in 1987. Several restorations have kept the mural looking sparkly.
Thousands of people a week frequent the pool at Crotona Park, drawn to its 300 feet of cool blue water, a whopping 925,000 gallons. It’s the largest pool in the Bronx! But the surrounding park is pretty great too, featuring as it does an art deco interpretation of the a French castle (the pool’s bathhouse), a nature center, handball courts, baseball diamonds, playgrounds, 20 tennis courts, and trees.
A pool in Central Park? Why, yes, yes, indeed. In the winter, Lasker Pool (known as Lasker Rink) offers ice skating, hockey practice and other chilly fun, but in the summer, you can swim until your heart’s content. You can run around nearby Harlem Meer, building up a sweat, then pop into this crystal blue oasis to cool off. Then do it again and again and again. In addition to the Olympic-size pool, there’s a wading pool for the little ones.