15 NYC Pools You’re Probably Missing Out On
Cold water, chilled cocktails, and the summer sun.
In our opinion nothing cues summer quite like channeling our inner Ariel in some highly-chlorinated water. So when we’re not escaping to nearby beaches, New Yorkers can be found seeking out the coolest poolside perches.
Some of us yearn for a chic sky-high destination to sip cocktails and mingle, while others (guilty!) long to heal our inner child in any available body of water by playing mermaids, conducting handstand competitions, playing Marco Polo, cannonballing… you get the picture. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure out here. Whether it be a trendy hotel rooftop or a beloved public amenity (all of which open on June 29 this year—but make sure to double check which ones are in operation due to lifeguard shortages), it’s time to forgo melting on sidewalks with these popular pools in NYC.
The inaugural summer of Coda Beach Club has arrived. Located within the recently debuted Coda Williamsburg hotel, the Beach Club offers bright white-and-green loungers, tropical greenery, and spacious cabanas for the next few months. For sips and bites, there’s everything from the ‘Good Thyme’ Lemonade (vodka, fresh lemon, thyme) to Mee Goreng Grilled Cheese (noodles, fried egg). For those tired of youngins splashing around and screaming, this is a completely adults-only pool.
Cost: Non-hotel guest day bed pool passes from $95
The new Virgin Hotels New York City, in the heart of NoMad, is more than ready for you to post up at either of its two outdoor drinking destinations. On the third floor, you’ll find a restaurant and bar called Everdene, with an expansive terrace and a lively entertainment program most nights of the week. But the star of the show is undoubtedly The Pool Club. While hanging at the rooftop oasis, hotel guests can treat themselves to a swim followed by boozy ice pops, specialty cocktails, and light bites.
Cost: Free for non-hotel guests daily from 4 pm–7 pm
Long Island City
Whether you’re down for a staycation or just looking for a rooftop destination, Long Island City’s outdoor club, on the third floor of the Ravel Hotel, rewards New Yorkers with rowdy day-long fêtes. The ambiance is inspired by the wild and ostentatious day clubs of Miami and Las Vegas, so, naturally, there’s a lengthy pool to keep you cool between rounds of drinks. Get cozy on a daybed or underneath a cabana while listening to some of the top DJs from around the world and occasionally dipping your toes into the water.
Cost: Pool party passes from $25
As part of the city’s Anchor Parks initiative, Betsy Head Park has undergone some major renovations over the past few years, mostly to the sports amenities and skating rink. While this project is ongoing, the pool is still available for all your summer fun. The expansive Art Moderne-style pool was designed in 1935, bringing an Art Deco vibe to your afternoon. Kick back, relax, and pretend that you’re cooling off
Beating those inevitable summer heatwaves in the Bronx is made possible courtesy of this beloved Olympic-sized oasis. Tucked on the side of Crotona Park—which is named after a famed Grecian athlete, Croton—this is the largest pool in the borough and an ideal spot to practice those competition-ready strokes. If it’s too toasty poolside, gather your belongings and take a breezy stroll along the park’s 3.3-acre lake.
Lower East Side
A neighborhood well known for its renowned restaurants, nightlife hotspots, and rich history, the Lower East Side is also home to one of the biggest public pools in Manhattan. The vibes at Hamilton Fish Pool are laid back and pretension-free. The lack of deck furniture isn’t meant to be a deterrent at all, just pack a couple of beach towels and claim a spot on the wide band of concrete that surrounds the pool.
Although summer is packed full of revelrous outings and we all have a serious case of FOMO, sometimes you just need to have a solo recharge of that depleted social battery. Take some of that much-needed “me time” over on Governors Island at the QC Spa in one of their two new infinity pools, where not only are there panoramic views of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey, but also luxurious features like underwater hydro seats and loungers which massage the body. Afterwards, there’s more than 20 spa treatments and experiences to choose from including saunas, meditation rooms, steam baths, and infrared beds.
Cost: Weekday admission from $98; Weekend admission from $118
Built along the East River, the Riverbank State Park offers New Yorkers the chance to dip their toes into both an Olympic-sized lap pool and a wading pool. Showing up early is key if you want to score a coveted ticket to swim. The first set of admission tickets goes on sale at 10:30 am every day during the season and the second round is at 2:30 pm. Come with your cash (all it takes to get in is two bucks!), your swimsuit, and all your friends.
Cost: Pool entry from $2
After a little march up to the highest point in Sunset Park, guests are greeted by the joyous sight of the olympic-sized Sunset Pool and some of the city’s best views of the Statue of Liberty. Although you can’t bring food to any of NYC’s public pools, there’s plenty of nearby favorites to grab bites at after your swim, like Ba Xuyen for banh mis and Tacos El Bronco for tacos.
Located on the bottom end of Staten Island is this hidden gem. After an extensive renovation a few years ago, the concrete-covered area now features colorful murals, lounge chairs, and umbrellas. While there might be pools closer to your apartment, a trip across the river on the Staten Island Ferry can almost make it feel like you’re going on vacation. At only 3.5-feet-deep, the Tottenville Pool is ideal for leisurely floating and mingling.
Would you go all the way to JFK airport to take a swim? Well, New Yorkers have definitely gone farther for less. The retro-styled TWA Hotel features a pool and bar with only-at-JFK views of planes flying low overhead. Hotel reservations are not required to snag a spot by the pool, but pre-planned reservations are a must. From 11 am–11 pm, visitors can watch planes jet off into the horizon, sip on chilled beverages from The Pool Bar, and soak up some Vitamin D.
Cost: Pool reservations from $50
What’s most important to know about this spot, is that it’s one of the few hotels that offers pool access to non-guests (we love to see it). During the week, you can score one of the limited weekday passes, which gets you a reserved lounge chair on the terrace and access to the pool’s bar service. Added bonus, after you’ve built up an appetite, you can order up casual bites from the hotel’s restaurant pool menu like Waffle Fries and Crispy Shrimp Tacos.
Cost: Day passes starting at $160
Although you can’t bring your phone or any electronics to NYC public pool decks, disconnecting from the outside world and kicking back at this haven in Triboro Plaza still sounds idyllic. Snag a novel from that I-swear-I’ll-get-to-it-eventually book pile and enjoy an afternoon filled with absolutely nothing but relaxation.