We’ve reached the part of summer when even the immodest amount of clothing the law mandates we wear is too much. Even the breeze from CitiBiking around town brings little relief, and who’s got the money to keep their apartment at a decent temperature? Jump in one of the city’s best pools instead.
Astoria Park Pool
19th Street and 23rd Drive, Queens
Free, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
This massive (and massively popular) pool has a ton of waterside space for sunning, Olympic-size lanes and stunning views of the Triborough Bridge. There’s a dedicated diving area with boards at three heights (1, 3 and 10 feet) for the daredevils. Lockers are BYO lock, like all city pools, and if you didn’t make it to summer camp in your carefree youth there are free swimming lessons for all ages. Also note, public pools don’t allow electronics, food or glass bottles, which cuts down on a lot of partying — but you’re there to cool down, not stare at your phone and swill cocktails. For that, head to...
131-10 11th Ave., College Point
$40 weekdays, $50 weekends, 6 a.m.-midnight
During the summer, Spa Castle opens its two large outdoor pools, which have massage jets, a swim-up bar and waterfalls to sit under, all in a raucous party atmosphere. A little comfort with nudity is all you need to enjoy a full day of roaming its three floors of saunas (it’s not all heat — there’s one called Iceland) and various other water-related attractions. The recent renovations are complete, so go ahead and enjoy a cocktail without ever leaving the pool and splurge for a massage or spa treatment, then try the new Korean menu upstairs.
The Beach at Dream Downtown
355 W. 16th St., Chelsea
$55, Monday-Friday: 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Experience what you’ve been missing, because for the first time this summer you don’t need to be a guest of the hotel to lounge on the gorgeous nautical-themed deck in one of the more than 50 chairs. Weekday passes are available for $55 at the door, or book a cabana and order a large-format cocktail (there’s also a full all-day menu) to make an afternoon of it with friends. This pool is the best of both worlds: a hotel pool with a bar close enough to flag down a drink without having to get out of the water, and a separate area with sand trucked in from Montauk to enjoy a more beach-like atmosphere (but with the same cocktail situation).
McCarren Hotel & Pool
160 N. 12th St., Williamsburg
$45 Monday-Thursday, $60 Friday-Sunday
The spacious deck, poolside bar and food service — and a crowd of beautiful people — are just part of what makes this (saltwater) pool possibly the best in the city. Admission includes towels and Wi-Fi, but lounge chairs are extra. Tip: Set aside a couple of hours to check out Oleanders, the new early ‘80s throwback fern bar from the team behind Fette Sau, serving updated French and American grub in the season’s most Insta-ready dining room.
Crotona Park Pool
1700 Fulton Ave., the Bronx
Free, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
One the largest among the city’s free public pools is also one of its most beautiful. The Olympic-sized pool and bathhouse date from the 1930s, designed in an Art Deco-meets-European castle motif. Animal sculptures watch over bathers, and the surrounding Crotona Park has tennis courts, playgrounds, handball courts and lots of winding paths to make a day of it. The pool is cleaned in the middle of the day, like all city pools, and there are bleachers so you’re not laying out on concrete.