The days are getting steamy and the playground sprinklers are proving no match for the heat or your children’s short attention spans. So what’s a New York City parent in need of some cooling relief to do? Hit the pool! Just in time for the dog days of summer, we’ve rounded up a range of swimming pool options in and around the city and at various price points to suit every budget. Grab the kids and your sunblock and dive in.
New York City’s 53 outdoor public pools—34 full-sized and 19 minis—open for the season on Saturday, June 27th; indoor pools are open year round and are still accessible throughout the summer. (We ran down the rules for you here.) A couple of “must-visits”: Brooklyn Bridge Park Pop-Up Pool (the 3.5-foot deep, 30-by-50-foot pool is the perfect size for little dippers and the adjacent beach and nearby playground and carousel make for a full day’s worth of outdoor fun), McCarren Park Pool (this Olympic-sized pool has had a colorful past as a bathhouse, a pool, a popular concert venue and, after an extensive restoration, a pool once again, which makes it more than worth a look-see) and Vesuvio Pool (in the heart of SoHo, this mini pool is next to a playground and around the corner from Dominique Ansel Bakery—for those in need of a swim/play/cronut fix).
It may not be outside, but your local Y is still a convenient and affordable place to get wet—and improve your kids’ water skills. Summer Membership Value Passes ($150-$275/family, depending on location) are available if you sign up by June 30th (so get crackin’!) and offer full access to your home Y’s facilities, including pool sauna, locker room and towel service, not to mention gym, fitness classes, child care and more.
With two locations (Upper East Side and Battery Park City) Asphalt Green is a convenient and accessible spot to head for the day. A day pass ($35 per adult, $10 per kid) gives you access to a handful of pools — a 50 meter Olympic sized pool (uptown) and 25-yard lap pool (downtown), warm water teaching and exercise pools (89-92 degrees versus 79-82 degrees in the big pools) — plus complimentary water exercise classes, daily family recreational swim hours, the fitness center, lockers rooms and towel service, too.
On the Upper West Side, the JCC Manhattan boasts great city views from its two pools. The main pool is 4-4.5 feet deep, 25 meters long and 82 degrees, while the 0-4-foot training pool is a warm 92-94 degrees and has a maximum capacity of just 14 people. A day pass ($35 per person, no matter the age) gains you access to all the facilities, including family swim and lap swim , towel service and drop-in fitness classes, too.
It’s a bit out of the way, but Waterside Plaza’s Swim & Health Club in the East 20s by the FDR may be worth the schlep. The sky-lit pool is accessible seven days a week (except when a local day camp has use of it) and boasts a retractable roof and an adjacent sun deck. There’s a lifeguard on duty and swimming lessons are available. A three-month adult membership to the entire facility (pool, deck and gym) is $225, while kid memberships are an extra $29/month each.
For a no-fuss day at the pool, Rocky Ledge Swimming Association, may be just the ticket. Located five minutes from downtown White Plains, the 50-plus-year-old, member-owned co-op features a 343,000 gallon pool with three areas: a 3 to 4-foot shallow end, a 5 to 6-foot section of lanes for lap swimming and a 12-foot area for deep water activities. There's also a kiddie pool, a snack bar, basketball, volleyball, horseshoes, ping pong, a playground and a ball field. Membership ($400 for a family of four for the season or $10 to 25 per day for kids and adults respectively) includes full entry to the grounds, the covered pavilion, private showers and changing rooms.
There’s nothing like a fancy hotel to make your staycation feel truly complete. A summer membership to the spa fitness club at The Peninsula New York (yours for a cool $425/month) gains you entrance to the hotel’s exclusive 35,000 facility, including the outdoor sun-terrace and glass-enclosed pool. Kids 12 and under are welcome—with the purchase of a Kids Pool Membership (a relative bargain at $100/month) natch. Parents or guardians must accompany kids at all time. Private swimming lessons are available, too, for an additional fee.
If your fantasy pool is attached to a country club (and all it has to offer), Crest Hollow Country Club may be for you. Located 40 miles east of Manhattan in Woodbury, New York, it offers a seriously resort-style Olympic size pool (with lounge furniture, towel service, cabanas for changing in and out of wet bathing suits and a café that delivers meals poolside), an adjacent playground and a state of the art sand court offering beach- volleyball, soccer and tennis. Swim and tennis memberships for the summer season (Memorial Day-Labor Day) are $1,733 (single) and $2,205 (couple). Kids are an extra $210 each.
Another country club option north of the city, Lake Isle Country Club is a town-owned facility in Eastchester, New York, 25 miles from Manhattan. Like Crest Hollow, non-resident pool memberships are available for $1,630/family. The property has not one, but five pools (an Olympic pool, a diving tank, two kiddie pools and a separate adult-only pool). And there are water activities, like basketball and aerobics, plus plenty of play equipment for the kids, too.