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Where Can I Find a Pool That Costs Less Than My Monthly AC Bill?

Help me, I’m drenched in sweat

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White cushioned chairs and thatched chandeliers surround the pool.
The pool at Rockaway Hotel.
Rockaway Hotel

Dear Eater,

It’s gonna be a million degrees this weekend. Where can I find a pool with good drinks to post up (that's also not $260 a day or something for a pass)?

Hot on a Budget

Dear Hot on a Budget,

When you walk outside and right into what feels like a sauna, or you find yourself on a subway platform where the air’s been sucked out, plunging into a shimmery blue pool is a prevailing fantasy. As you mentioned, NYC has its swanky options that will run your wallet dry, but these more affordable and local options stand out.

The sleek Rockaway Hotel offers $100 day passes, but they’re only good Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. If a weekday happens to open up for pool time, take advantage of the pool bar and restaurant here. The menu is solid — perhaps a lobster roll and frose or a watermelon salad and a ghost pepper tequila cocktail might interest you? There’s also a spa on-premise and the Atlantic Ocean right outside. Plan your trip via the NYC Ferry, the Rockaway Park branch of the A train, or the Q53-SBS bus.

For headier urban energy, the Williamsburg Hotel offers poolside drinking with a jaw-dropping 360-degree view of the Brooklyn and Manhattan skyline that hits its peak wow factor during sunset. Dynamic pricing is applied so day passes can start at $100 during the week and go up to $180 on weekends. You can also book a lounge chair or a daybed for specific time slots throughout the week though the pricing edges a bit higher. The trendy William Vale hotel and McCarren Hotel also have day passes that start at $100 on the dynamic pricing model.

At the sceney Dream Downtown in Chelsea, the pool runs on the smaller side, but if voyeurism floats your boat, the glass bottom hovers right above the lobby. Day passes here run $80 per chaise lounge on weekdays, and they can go up to $150 on weekends.

At the Manhattan Park Pool Club at Roosevelt Island, you can book a pool pass for $55 ($35 for Roosevelt Island residents) on weekdays and $70 ($45 for residents) on weekends and holidays, but the downside is that customers can only bring non-alcoholic drinks to the family-friendly pool. This year, the deck surrounding the 60-foot pool is awash in vibrant yellow squiggles and blue bubbles that make up Hratch Arbach’s mural, according to Secret NYC. The art installment is a part of the pool club’s annual collaboration with K&CO Design and Pliskin Architecure, and it’s really a stunner.

For a homey experience, check out Swimply, an Airbnb for private swimming pools. Rates range from $40 to $100 per hour, and locations span Bed-Stuy, Astoria and Throggs Neck in the Bronx.

If you prefer a staycation with a pool over a day trip, you can always check availability on a handful of other local hotels.

Good luck and stay cool!

Caroline Shin