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Mapping 25 Places in NYC Where You Can Swim This Summer

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There are a number of swimming options that exist in New York City, many of which are, quite frankly, gross. You'd be hard pressed to find someone who would voluntarily describe Coney Island as "refreshing," but sometimes the comparative solitude of a swim at the gym feels cold in the summertime. So, we've compiled a list of 25 pools, public beaches, hotels, and swim clubs in NYC where you can swim outside without picking cigarette butts out of your bikini. From relatively well-kept secrets like the Hotel Williamsburg to private resorts like the Breezy Point Surf Club and middle-of-the-road options like Spa Castle, this map is proof there are plenty of places in New York to soak up the chlorine and the sunshine, simultaneously.
—Hannah Frishberg


· Outdoors Week 2014 [Curbed]

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1. Brooklyn Bridge Park Pop Up Pool

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If the shadow of the Manhattan Bridge isn’t sufficient shade for you this summer, cool down in the Brooklyn Bridge Park Pop-Up pool. The 30-foot by 50-foot pool opened June 27, and operates every day from 10AM to 6PM (like all public parks this summer). This family-centric pool is only 3.5 feet at its deepest point, and swimmers are given wristbands for 45 minute sessions,

2. Fort Tilden Beach

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Beach 169th street
Breezy Point, NY 11697

Over the years, New Yorkers have shown an affinity for alternately loving Fort Tilden as their isolated secret and complaining of the beach’s increasingly popularity. Although closed last summer due to Hurricane Sandy, Fort Tilden is open for business this year! From its abandoned barracks full of graffiti to the sweeping views of both the Manhattan and Brooklyn skyline, this seaside-military-fort-turned-beachside-national-park is easily one of New York’s most special spots, no matter how many other people know. [Photo by Hannah Frishberg]

3. Floating Pool

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Tiffany Street & Viele Avenue
Bronx, NY 10474

A seven-lane movable barge with a waterfront view in the Southeast Bronx, the Floating Pool Lady, as she’s been lovingly nicknamed, is an only-in-New-York kind of swimming pool. It may be a mile from the nearest subway, but that should only add to the isolated zen of the place.

4. McCarren Park Pool

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McCarren Park
Brooklyn, NY 11222

The McCarren Park Pool has been a hot mess for much of its existence since being opened by Robert Moses in 1936. Fistfights and rioting aside, the pool is conveniently located and generously sized, plus it was recently completely renovated. In 2012, the pool re-opened after being closed for 28 years. It’s no resort, but as one of the city's newest pools, it's one of the nicest as well.

5. Red Hook Pool

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Henry Street & Bay Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231

An Olympic-sized pool with old school locker rooms, it’s not uncommon for there to be a line around the block of people waiting to get into the Red Hook Pool. That said, it’s a good alternative to McCarren Park for those who’d prefer a recreational hub which is less of a madhouse. It’s also much more convenient for South Brooklyintes.

6. Rockaway Beach

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It's unclear where the Ramones were living when they wrote that Rockaway Beach was “not hard, not far to reach” but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the commute. Even after Sandy, Rockaway is still exponentially saner and more sanitary than Coney Island, plus the beach has a lot of solid food options.

7. Hotel Williamsburg

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160 N 12th St, King & Grove Williamsburg
Brooklyn, NY 11249
(718) 218-7500
Visit Website

For $45, you can gain access to Brooklyn’s first and only public saline pool at Hotel Williamsburg. The pool measures 20-feet-wide, 40-feet-long, and 4-feet-deep, and the deck can accommodate 149 visitors. When the pool first opened a few years ago, one could take a dip just by purchasing something from the hotel bar, but it became too crowded. Now the pool offers day passes for $45, and, if you're looking to drop $300 on a day at the pool you can buy special packages like a "sun bed for two."

8. Spa Castle

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13110 11th Ave
College Point, NY 11356
(718) 939-6300
Visit Website

The People’s Spa of Queens - Spa Castle is an affordable oasis of hydrotherapy, an “Aqua Lounge," quality Korean cuisine, and something called “Sauna Valley." A literal castle in Queens, Spa Castle has all the necessities of a bonafide indoor-resort-waterpark, including two rooftop pools. A weekday all-day pass is $40 and will grant you full access to facilities from 6AM opening to midnight closing. Located out in College Point, for those without a car your best bet is to take the Spa Castle Shuttle, which runs every 30 minutes 6AM to 9:10PM.

9. Jacob Riis Park

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1 Rockaway Beach Blvd.
Rockaway Park, NY 11694
(718) 318-4300
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Just west of Rockaway Beach is Jacob Riis Park, a stretch of beach that's not quite as crowded as its eastern neighbor, but more popular than Fort Tilden. There's a large bathhouse, and several food trucks are usually on site if you don't want to bring a picnic.

10. Breezy Point Surf Club

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1 Beach 227th St
Breezy Point, NY 11697
(718) 634-7200
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Day passes are $30 for this beach resort. You’ll have access to pools on pools (some equipped with water slides), as well as an outdoor tiki bar, jacuzzi, indoor gym, lockers, showers, and tennis courts.

11. Sunset Park Pool

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44th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11219

Scenic views, soccer, and an olympic sized pool to boot, put the Sunset Park Pool near the top of the elite public pools list. Heavily used by locals, the Sunset Park Pool may not be as well known as McCarren or Red Hook, but its just as convenient and not nearly as crowded.

12. Astoria Park Pool

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Astoria Park
Astoria, NY
Astoria Pool

">Astoria Park boasts killer views of the Triborough Bridge (completed the same year as the pool) and being host to the Olympic Trials for the U.S. Swim and Diving Teams in July of 1936. A 32-foot elevated platform from the trials is still in use at the diving pool. Fun fact: in the 40s, a bunch of neighborhood boys formed a group called the Aquazanies and treated pool-goers to costumed performances of choreographed swimming.

13. Fort Totten Park

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Totten Road
Queens, NY 11360

Plenty of places in New York are rich in history, but Fort Totten is special cause not only is it historically rich - it’s also clean. This preserved Civil War Fortress boasts a diving pool, a wading pool, and an intermediate pool, all outside. Located way out at one of Queen's northeastern most points at the head of Little Neck Bay, you're going to need either a car or a lot of patience for city buses to get out there, but it'll probably be worth it.

14. East River

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Ever feel an inexplicable urge to swim in the East River? NYC Swim conducts swimming races in the waters surrounding NYC, be it anything from swimming around the Statue of Liberty to swimming under the Brooklyn Bridge. You’ll need to pay the entrance fee (anywhere from $90 to $135 depending on when you sign up for each individual swim) and have a swimming test, but saying you've swam across the East River is quite the story.

15. Manhattan Beach

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The boro-mixup in the naming of this Brooklyn Beach is well deserved: the ritzy Russian mansions lining the borough’s smallest beach look like they belong in the Hamptons. Quaint and family-friendly, Manhattan Beach is almost definitely the best kept and least populous stretch of Brooklyn’s seaside.

16. Orchard Beach

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Robert Moses’ “Riviera of New York” is 1.5 miles long, and as the only public beach in the Bronx, it is sure to be full of character and crowds. It’s got paddleball, basketball, 26 tennis courts, a bandshell, a boardwalk, and it borders New York’s largest public park (three times the size of Central Park), Pelham Bay Park.

17. Wolfe's Beach Pond

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The beach at Wolfe's Pond was formed nearly 20,000 years ago as the Wisconsin ice sheet moved southward during the final stages of the ice age. This Staten Island park will allow you a level of solitude Central Park can’t even pretend to offer, even if it is a ferry ride away.

18. The James New York

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27 Grand Street at Thompson Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 465-2000
Visit Website

What could possibly be higher on your summer wish list than a free private pool? The James Hotel has made that wish come true. It’s rooftop pool is free and open to the public from 3pm-8:30pm on weekends (you’ll have to be a hotel guest to swim the rest of the week). It’s quite tiny as far as swimming pools go, but it's swanky and on the roof, so no one seems to be complaining.

19. Coney Island Beach & Boardwalk

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Surf Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11224
(877) 712-6639
Visit Website

Ahh, Coney Island, where women walk topless in the streets and there’s sure to be a handful of cigarette butts and glass shards in all your sand castles. The beach is dirty, but the vibes are worth it—where else do you get free fireworks every Friday and can watch people stick screwdrivers up their noses for $10? It’s far from wholesome, but that’s why people love it. And this year, 14 years after the original was torn down, the new and improved Thunderbolt roller coaster is open.

20. Van Cortlandt Park

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Broadway
New York, NY 10471
(718) 549-7272
Visit Website

Another outer-borough option to suit your swimming needs, Van Cortlandt Park’s pool is located in one of the few places in New York that can be fairly described as a “forested heartland”. Surrounded by oak trees and cricket players, come take a dip in the Bronx.

21. John Jay Park

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78 FDR Drive
New York, NY 10010

This Upper East Side complex has a 145-foot diving pool as well as an intermediate pool. Sculptures dot the park, and the neighborhood does a good job of keeping John Jay Park clean.

22. Lasker Pool & Ice Rink

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10826 East Dr
New York, NY 10026
(212) 534-7639
Visit Website

At Lasker Pool you can have your cake and eat it too (just not on the pool deck): a swimming pool inside Central Park! It’s huge, it’s crowded, it’s got crazy views, and in the winter it morphs into a skating rink.

23. Midtown Holiday Inn

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440 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019

A hidden gem, the Midtown Holiday Inn has a (sizable) rooftop pool. For $70, you get access 10AM - 6PM, and a towel. A $25 day pass for those over 21 is also available, Monday through Friday after 3PM. Cash only, and come early if you want a deck chair (they’re first-come first-served).

24. Jackie Robinson Park Pool

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Edgecombe Avenue & Bradhurst Avenue
New York, NY 10030

The Jackie Robinson Park pool provides a necessary dip if you’re ever Uptown and heat starts gettin’ to ya. Surrounding the pool, you’ll also find basketball courts, baseball diamonds, volleyball courts, not one but two playgrounds, and a bandshell. If you time it right, you could be taking a swim while the SummerStage Metropolitan Opera Recital series sings nearby.

25. Highbridge Park

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Amsterdam Avenue & Edgecombe Avenue
New York, NY 10032

This swimming pool is huge. A surprisingly quiet park in the middle of Washington Parks, Highbridge manages to be a grand facility even 100 years after being built. Built on the bank of the Harlem River, in addition to the swimming pool, there’s also a water tower (not for swimming, just for looking).

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1. Brooklyn Bridge Park Pop Up Pool

Brooklyn, NY 11201

If the shadow of the Manhattan Bridge isn’t sufficient shade for you this summer, cool down in the Brooklyn Bridge Park Pop-Up pool. The 30-foot by 50-foot pool opened June 27, and operates every day from 10AM to 6PM (like all public parks this summer). This family-centric pool is only 3.5 feet at its deepest point, and swimmers are given wristbands for 45 minute sessions,

2. Fort Tilden Beach

Beach 169th street, Breezy Point, NY 11697

Over the years, New Yorkers have shown an affinity for alternately loving Fort Tilden as their isolated secret and complaining of the beach’s increasingly popularity. Although closed last summer due to Hurricane Sandy, Fort Tilden is open for business this year! From its abandoned barracks full of graffiti to the sweeping views of both the Manhattan and Brooklyn skyline, this seaside-military-fort-turned-beachside-national-park is easily one of New York’s most special spots, no matter how many other people know. [Photo by Hannah Frishberg]

Beach 169th street
Breezy Point, NY 11697

3. Floating Pool

Tiffany Street & Viele Avenue, Bronx, NY 10474

A seven-lane movable barge with a waterfront view in the Southeast Bronx, the Floating Pool Lady, as she’s been lovingly nicknamed, is an only-in-New-York kind of swimming pool. It may be a mile from the nearest subway, but that should only add to the isolated zen of the place.

Tiffany Street & Viele Avenue
Bronx, NY 10474

4. McCarren Park Pool

McCarren Park, Brooklyn, NY 11222

The McCarren Park Pool has been a hot mess for much of its existence since being opened by Robert Moses in 1936. Fistfights and rioting aside, the pool is conveniently located and generously sized, plus it was recently completely renovated. In 2012, the pool re-opened after being closed for 28 years. It’s no resort, but as one of the city's newest pools, it's one of the nicest as well.

McCarren Park
Brooklyn, NY 11222

5. Red Hook Pool

Henry Street & Bay Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231

An Olympic-sized pool with old school locker rooms, it’s not uncommon for there to be a line around the block of people waiting to get into the Red Hook Pool. That said, it’s a good alternative to McCarren Park for those who’d prefer a recreational hub which is less of a madhouse. It’s also much more convenient for South Brooklyintes.

Henry Street & Bay Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231

6. Rockaway Beach

Queens, NY 11693

It's unclear where the Ramones were living when they wrote that Rockaway Beach was “not hard, not far to reach” but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the commute. Even after Sandy, Rockaway is still exponentially saner and more sanitary than Coney Island, plus the beach has a lot of solid food options.

7. Hotel Williamsburg

160 N 12th St, King & Grove Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY 11249

For $45, you can gain access to Brooklyn’s first and only public saline pool at Hotel Williamsburg. The pool measures 20-feet-wide, 40-feet-long, and 4-feet-deep, and the deck can accommodate 149 visitors. When the pool first opened a few years ago, one could take a dip just by purchasing something from the hotel bar, but it became too crowded. Now the pool offers day passes for $45, and, if you're looking to drop $300 on a day at the pool you can buy special packages like a "sun bed for two."

160 N 12th St, King & Grove Williamsburg
Brooklyn, NY 11249

8. Spa Castle

13110 11th Ave, College Point, NY 11356

The People’s Spa of Queens - Spa Castle is an affordable oasis of hydrotherapy, an “Aqua Lounge," quality Korean cuisine, and something called “Sauna Valley." A literal castle in Queens, Spa Castle has all the necessities of a bonafide indoor-resort-waterpark, including two rooftop pools. A weekday all-day pass is $40 and will grant you full access to facilities from 6AM opening to midnight closing. Located out in College Point, for those without a car your best bet is to take the Spa Castle Shuttle, which runs every 30 minutes 6AM to 9:10PM.

13110 11th Ave
College Point, NY 11356

9. Jacob Riis Park

1 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Rockaway Park, NY 11694

Just west of Rockaway Beach is Jacob Riis Park, a stretch of beach that's not quite as crowded as its eastern neighbor, but more popular than Fort Tilden. There's a large bathhouse, and several food trucks are usually on site if you don't want to bring a picnic.

1 Rockaway Beach Blvd.
Rockaway Park, NY 11694

10. Breezy Point Surf Club

1 Beach 227th St, Breezy Point, NY 11697

Day passes are $30 for this beach resort. You’ll have access to pools on pools (some equipped with water slides), as well as an outdoor tiki bar, jacuzzi, indoor gym, lockers, showers, and tennis courts.

1 Beach 227th St
Breezy Point, NY 11697

11. Sunset Park Pool

44th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11219

Scenic views, soccer, and an olympic sized pool to boot, put the Sunset Park Pool near the top of the elite public pools list. Heavily used by locals, the Sunset Park Pool may not be as well known as McCarren or Red Hook, but its just as convenient and not nearly as crowded.

44th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11219

12. Astoria Park Pool

Astoria Park, Astoria, NY
Astoria Pool

">Astoria Park boasts killer views of the Triborough Bridge (completed the same year as the pool) and being host to the Olympic Trials for the U.S. Swim and Diving Teams in July of 1936. A 32-foot elevated platform from the trials is still in use at the diving pool. Fun fact: in the 40s, a bunch of neighborhood boys formed a group called the Aquazanies and treated pool-goers to costumed performances of choreographed swimming.

Astoria Park
Astoria, NY

13. Fort Totten Park

Totten Road, Queens, NY 11360

Plenty of places in New York are rich in history, but Fort Totten is special cause not only is it historically rich - it’s also clean. This preserved Civil War Fortress boasts a diving pool, a wading pool, and an intermediate pool, all outside. Located way out at one of Queen's northeastern most points at the head of Little Neck Bay, you're going to need either a car or a lot of patience for city buses to get out there, but it'll probably be worth it.

Totten Road
Queens, NY 11360

14. East River

New York, NY

Ever feel an inexplicable urge to swim in the East River? NYC Swim conducts swimming races in the waters surrounding NYC, be it anything from swimming around the Statue of Liberty to swimming under the Brooklyn Bridge. You’ll need to pay the entrance fee (anywhere from $90 to $135 depending on when you sign up for each individual swim) and have a swimming test, but saying you've swam across the East River is quite the story.

15. Manhattan Beach

Brooklyn, NY 11235

The boro-mixup in the naming of this Brooklyn Beach is well deserved: the ritzy Russian mansions lining the borough’s smallest beach look like they belong in the Hamptons. Quaint and family-friendly, Manhattan Beach is almost definitely the best kept and least populous stretch of Brooklyn’s seaside.

16. Orchard Beach

Bronx, NY 10464

Robert Moses’ “Riviera of New York” is 1.5 miles long, and as the only public beach in the Bronx, it is sure to be full of character and crowds. It’s got paddleball, basketball, 26 tennis courts, a bandshell, a boardwalk, and it borders New York’s largest public park (three times the size of Central Park), Pelham Bay Park.

17. Wolfe's Beach Pond

Staten Island, NY 10314

The beach at Wolfe's Pond was formed nearly 20,000 years ago as the Wisconsin ice sheet moved southward during the final stages of the ice age. This Staten Island park will allow you a level of solitude Central Park can’t even pretend to offer, even if it is a ferry ride away.

18. The James New York

27 Grand Street at Thompson Street, New York, NY 10013

What could possibly be higher on your summer wish list than a free private pool? The James Hotel has made that wish come true. It’s rooftop pool is free and open to the public from 3pm-8:30pm on weekends (you’ll have to be a hotel guest to swim the rest of the week). It’s quite tiny as far as swimming pools go, but it's swanky and on the roof, so no one seems to be complaining.

27 Grand Street at Thompson Street
New York, NY 10013

19. Coney Island Beach & Boardwalk

Surf Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11224

Ahh, Coney Island, where women walk topless in the streets and there’s sure to be a handful of cigarette butts and glass shards in all your sand castles. The beach is dirty, but the vibes are worth it—where else do you get free fireworks every Friday and can watch people stick screwdrivers up their noses for $10? It’s far from wholesome, but that’s why people love it. And this year, 14 years after the original was torn down, the new and improved Thunderbolt roller coaster is open.

Surf Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11224

20. Van Cortlandt Park

Broadway, New York, NY 10471

Another outer-borough option to suit your swimming needs, Van Cortlandt Park’s pool is located in one of the few places in New York that can be fairly described as a “forested heartland”. Surrounded by oak trees and cricket players, come take a dip in the Bronx.

Broadway
New York, NY 10471

21. John Jay Park

78 FDR Drive, New York, NY 10010

This Upper East Side complex has a 145-foot diving pool as well as an intermediate pool. Sculptures dot the park, and the neighborhood does a good job of keeping John Jay Park clean.

78 FDR Drive
New York, NY 10010

22. Lasker Pool & Ice Rink

10826 East Dr, New York, NY 10026

At Lasker Pool you can have your cake and eat it too (just not on the pool deck): a swimming pool inside Central Park! It’s huge, it’s crowded, it’s got crazy views, and in the winter it morphs into a skating rink.

10826 East Dr
New York, NY 10026

23. Midtown Holiday Inn

440 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019

A hidden gem, the Midtown Holiday Inn has a (sizable) rooftop pool. For $70, you get access 10AM - 6PM, and a towel. A $25 day pass for those over 21 is also available, Monday through Friday after 3PM. Cash only, and come early if you want a deck chair (they’re first-come first-served).

440 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019

24. Jackie Robinson Park Pool

Edgecombe Avenue & Bradhurst Avenue, New York, NY 10030

The Jackie Robinson Park pool provides a necessary dip if you’re ever Uptown and heat starts gettin’ to ya. Surrounding the pool, you’ll also find basketball courts, baseball diamonds, volleyball courts, not one but two playgrounds, and a bandshell. If you time it right, you could be taking a swim while the SummerStage Metropolitan Opera Recital series sings nearby.

Edgecombe Avenue & Bradhurst Avenue
New York, NY 10030

25. Highbridge Park

Amsterdam Avenue & Edgecombe Avenue, New York, NY 10032

This swimming pool is huge. A surprisingly quiet park in the middle of Washington Parks, Highbridge manages to be a grand facility even 100 years after being built. Built on the bank of the Harlem River, in addition to the swimming pool, there’s also a water tower (not for swimming, just for looking).

Amsterdam Avenue & Edgecombe Avenue
New York, NY 10032