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We’ve gotten a little break from the heat lately but as temperatures begin to rise over the next few days, there’s welcome news for when the next heatwave inevitably arrives: all outdoor pools throughout the five boroughs will open for the season on Saturday, June 26. 

McCarren Park Pool in Brooklyn. Photo: NYC Parks

Before you dive in, here are some rules you should know about before you go. Everyone has to wear a bathing suit (heads up: men’s shorts may be checked for a lining) but keep any colorful or patterned cover-ups and shirts at home — only white ones are allowed on the deck. 

If you’re bringing a baby or a toddler with you, pack swim diapers but consider leaving the stroller at home as there won’t be a guaranteed safe place to park it. Speaking of security, make sure to bring a combination lock to secure your belongings in a locker. They are also required for entry and luggage locks don’t cut it. Food, glass bottles, newspapers, and electronic devices are discouraged to avoid messes and possible destruction in the water-heavy environment. 

This year, you can leave the sunscreen at home. Thanks to a new partnership with the American Academy of Dermatology’s SPOT Skin Cancer program, all outdoor pools will be equipped with dispensers of free, broad-spectrum SPF 50 sunscreen.

Most city pools are wheelchair accessible, you can double-check if your facility has a ramp or lift here. A variety of free swim programs and exercise classes for everyone from toddlers to seniors is available. But while all outdoor pools will be open, indoor pools are to remain closed for the foreseeable future. Open hours are from 11:00am through 7:00pm every day, with a break for cleaning between 3:00pm and 4:00pm. The season lasts through September 12, 2021. 

Astoria Pool on the East River near Hell Gate. Photo: NYC Parks.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any open-air public pools in Hell’s Kitchen, though the neighborhood has a bit of noteworthy history. In the late nineteenth century, there were floating, open-air baths along the Hudson and East Rivers which were free and widely popular. As river pollution increased, the need for indoor public baths arose and HK got a bathhouse at 327 W41st St (now the site of the McGraw-Hill Art Deco building) in 1904. 

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