New York's a sweltering box of heat this summer, so the only way to truly cool down is to submerge yourself in some cool, chlorinated water. There are plenty of free (and clean) public pools at your disposal, but if you're looking to lower your body temperature while donning a designer swimsuit with a cocktail in hand, the city has a number of fancy options.
SOHO HOUSE: Soho House has been the super trendy and exclusive pool in NYC for years. You don't just become a member here, you apply, via an ominous application that starts with the credo: "I hereby apply for membership of Soho House. If accepted, I agree to be bound by the rules of the House." So basically it might be Fight Club. Unclear. If you're not a celebrity, a Silicon Valley billionaire, or willing to drop the $2,000 membership fee, there are some secret ways to get in, the best of which is to befriend a member, who can bring up to three guests (although these guests will have to stick by said member's side for their entire stay, so make sure you're all close!). Just don't bother asking Kim Kardashian.
Soho House is located at 29-35 9th Avenue between W. 13 and W. 14 Streets in the Meatpacking (212-627-9800, https://www.sohohouseny.com/).
JIMMY AT THE JAMES HOTEL: The summer pool parties atop the James Hotel at The Jimmy in Soho are a pretty nice (and free) way to cool off this summer in a trendy atmosphere. During the week the pool is only open to guests, but on Saturday and Sundays during the summer it's open to the public starting at 3 p.m. (DJs begin spinning at 4 p.m.) The pool is notably small but it boasts a spectacular view of the Freedom Tower and the Empire State Building. Do note that while entry is free, drinks, food and reserved lounges are not, so be prepared to drop some cash when hit this pool up. Fancy swim attire is encouraged.
Jimmy at the James Hotel is located at 15 Thompson Street between Grand Street and 6th Avenue in Soho. (212-465-2000, http://www.jameshotels.com/new-york/explore-hotel/amenities-services/rooftop-pool)
GANSEVOORT MEATPACKING POOL: For a pretty penny, you can find yourself lounging by the pool at the Gansevoort Hotel in the Meatpacking District. The hotel offers an "Out of Office"package for $250. That may seem steep, but it gets you poolside for a day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday until August 31st. It also includes a reserved pool bed, $75 in food and drink credit, complimentary towels and fresh fruit, and 25 percent off at the Exhale Spa. Supposedly there is an attendant who keeps a list of every person at the pool, so chances of sneaking in are low unless you can beg a guest to take pity on you and escort you into this sacred oasis.
Gansevoort Meatpacking Pool is located at 18 9th Avenue between W. 13th Street and Little W. 12th Street in the Meatpacking District. (212-206-6700, http://www.gansevoorthotelgroup.com/hotels/gansevoort-meatpacking-nyc/).
MCCARREN HOTEL AND POOL: Decorated with colorful murals and tan hipsters, the McCarren Hotel Pool is a super hip, picture-perfect spot at which to cool down. While not technically a rooftop, but mostly a space enclosed between buildings, the pool still has a nice view of McCarren Park. For $65 you can get a weekend day pass and $40 will get you a weekend evening pass. During the week it's $45 for a day pass and $30 for an evening pass. This does not include a lounge chair, which would up your price to $325. Since this pool is big and relatively affordable, it does get quite crowded on the weekend. I suggest arriving early and setting up a spot on the patio with your towel so you can post up there all day.
McCarren Hotel and Pool is located at 160 N. 12th Street between Berry Street and Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. (718-218-7500, http://www.mccarrenhotel.com/about)
THE BEACH AT DREAM DOWNTOWN: If you're willing to shell out some cash, this schmancy pool's selling $60 day passes all summer. The bad news is, passes are only for weekdays between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. If you get summer Fridays and want to see what the hype is about. It does get crowded, even during the week, so be prepared for it being a serious mission to order drinks and find a lounge chair.
The Beach at Dream Downtown is located at 355 W. 16th Street between 8th Avenue and 9th Avenue in Chelsea. (212-229-2559, http://dreambeach.club/)
HOTEL AMERICANO: LA PISCINE: La Piscine at the Hotel Americano in Chelsea is a smaller and more low key option for poolside hangouts. The pool is free from 5 p.m to 1 a.m. everyday and is $40 during the week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Though you have to pay during the week, the area is reportedly pretty empty, so you don't have to fight for a coveted chair. Note that the pool itself is small, so getting there during a quiet time is crucial for enjoyment. But even if you happen to go on a busy day, the gorgeous views of the Hudson River and the poolside delivery of food and drink'll make up for it.
Hotel Americano is located at 518 West 27th Street between 10th Avenue and 11th Avenue in Chelsea. (212-216-0000, http://www.hotel-americano.com/)
LE BAIN AT THE STANDARD HIGHLINE: If you're looking to hit the club club in a pool, look no further than Le Bain at The Standard Highline is the place for you. The faux-grass covered rooftop is a fun alternative to some of the more urban offerings, plus there's a DJ and a plunge pool as well as a delicious creperie. There's usually no cover fee, but this is the kind of place that will have a line, so wear your most kick-ass bikini and be prepared to bat your eyelashes at the bouncer.
Le Bain at The Standard Highline is located at 848 Washington Street between West 13th Street and Little West 12th Street in the Meatpacking District. (212-645-7600, http://www.standardhotels.com/new-york/features/le-bain).
(Courtesy of K&Co and Pliskin Architecture)
ROOSEVELT ISLAND RAINBOW POOL: How much would you pay for the perfect Instagram pic? Is it $35 during the week and $50 during the weekend? If so, the new rainbow pool on Roosevelt Island is the perfect place for you. This is a no-frills pool with nothing more than a few showers and lounge chairs, but it is pretty cool-looking—the pastel pink, blue and yellow pool comes with a sweet view of the NYC skyline, making it the perfect place to kick back and take some hot dog leg photos. The pool is first come, first serve and you can only buy day passes in person at the pool. It's open at 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends.
Roosevelt Island Rainbow Pool is located in Manhattan Park at 30 River Rd #1B off of Main Street on Roosevelt Island (212-308-4040).
BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK POOL: The free pop-up pool at Brooklyn Bridge Park is not a bespoke party pool with ripped waiters and $16 cocktails. But it is a swell spot at which to col off during the disgusting and humid NYC summer months. It’s only 3.5 feet deep, making it perfect for children (and their excrement) and only open to each person for 45 minute sessions. Still, 45 minutes is enough to wash off that subway sweat, so have at it.
Brooklyn Bridge Park Pop-Up Pool is located at 334 Furman Street between Joralemon Street and Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn. (http://www.brooklynbridgepark.org)