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Summer Cooldown: Where to swim and relax outside

Coney Island Beach, Brooklyn.

Coney Island Beach, Brooklyn. (Credit: Coney Island Beach, Brooklyn. (Getty))

School is out, the grills are hot and you are, too. It’s summer in the city!
Luckily, we’re here to give you all the details on where to cool down while also enjoying the season, from pools to parks to beaches:

BEACHES
Sandy Hook
N.J. Route 36 and Ocean Avenue; sandy-hook.com
Via the 35-minute Seastreak ferry ride (1-800-BOATRIDE), this seven-mile beach is an ocean lover’s dream. It hooks around for both oceanfront and bayfront options — you can even see the Manhattan skyline in the distance. This part of the Gateway National Recreation Area also offers fishing, hiking, biking, birding, boating and camping. And with park rangers set to enforce a statewide ban on public nudity at New York beaches this year, it is the nearest spot where you can shed those clothes.

Cedar Grove Beach Staten Island Ebbitts Street and Cedar Grove Avenue; nycgovparks.org
This quiet, clean beach — one of four in Great Kills Park — is often mistaken as being private. But the parks department began managing it a few years ago, and it now offers lifeguards and restrooms. Plans include a new concession stand, bike path and playground.

Coney Island Surf Avenue from West 37th Street to Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn, coneyisland.com
A beach, famous hot dogs and a roller coaster? This iconic seaside resort really does have it all. There’s also convenient public transportation, a boardwalk filled with trinkets and treats, an amusement park, an aquarium, a minor league baseball stadium and three miles of the Atlantic.

Rockaway Beach Queens Beach 9 to Beach 149 streets; nycgovparks.org
Expect to share Rockaway Beach with a community of surfers, as this is the city’s only legal surfing spot. Designated surf beaches are between 67 and 69 streets and 87 and 92 streets. This beach is also a burgeoning foodie heaven: Rockaway Taco, Rippers and much more are available to all beachgoers.

Jacob Riis Park  Queens Beach 149 to Beach 169 streets; nyharborparks.org
This mile-long beach, nicknamed “The People’s Beach,” is also located directly next to the closed-due-to-Sandy Fort Tilden. Concessions here are limited, so bring a lunch. Visitors can also look at the park’s flauna and flora that visit from Jamaica Bay.

PARKS
Prospect Park
Flatbush Avenue and Prospect Park West, Brooklyn; prospectpark.org
It may have taken them 30 years to build it, but the creators of Central Park scored another home run in Brooklyn with Prospect Park. Within its 585 acres of greenery, you’ll find horseback riding trails, a wheelchair accessible carousel and the first urban-area Audubon Center in the United States. One of the most relaxing features to explore is the network of wetlands called the Watercourse.

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Grand Central Parkway, Whitestone Expressway, between 111th Street and College Point Boulevard, Queens; flushingmeadowscoronapark.com
The largest park in Queens is perhaps best known for hosting two World’s fairs, the U.S. Open and the Mets. But, year-round, it continues to entertain with almost every public sports facility imaginable, including cricket. There is a large recreation complex, a zoo, an art museum, a botanical garden, a science museum, model aircraft fields and six playgrounds.

Hudson River Park West Side Highway, the Battery to 59th Street; hudsonriverpark.org
Once a desolate strip of empty piers and waterfront property, Hudson River Park is now the nation’s longest waterfront park. There’s nothing like a breeze off the water to refresh you during a run or bike ride along the five-mile greenway, or to cool you down while sunbathing in the grass.

Van Cortlandt Park Westchester County line with the Bronx, Van Cortlandt Park South between Broadway and Jerome Avenue, vcpark.org
This awe-inspiring park in the northwest corner of the Bronx boasts more than 1,000 acres of parkland. Here you will find the country’s first public golf course, horseback riding and hiking trails, including the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail. Take a bird walk with an expert or head to the boccie courts and cricket fields for some entertaining sportsmanship.

Clove Lakes Park Victory Boulevard between Clove Road and Slosson Avenue, Staten Island; nycgovparks.org If you’re interested in natural history, you’ll appreciate this park’s lakes and ponds, serpentine rocks and 300-year-old tulip tree. But you don’t need to know much about ecology to enjoy the fitness paths and hiking trails, paddleboats and plethora of sports facilities. This spot is truly a gem of a park.

POOLS
All NYC parks department pools are free and open from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 4-7 p.m.
FYI: Bring a combination lock to store valuables. Swimmers must wear a swimsuit to enter the pools. Only white T-shirts are permitted in the pools.

McCarren Park Pool 776 Lorimer St., Williamsburg
A large brick entry arch will greet you at this Olympic-sized pool. The McCarren Park Pool reopened last year after remaining unused as a pool since 1984. Concerts and festivals were held there, but it’s now a popular pool for northern Brooklynites.

Astoria Pool 21 Hoyt Ave. North, Astoria
The largest public pool in New York City, Astoria Pool was the first of 11 swimming facilities commissioned by Robert Moses in the summer of 1936. With a grand view of the RFK Bridge, Astoria Pool is ideal for Queens residents in search of a refreshing respite from the heat.

Red Hook Pool 155 Bay St., Red Hook
This pool is ideal for getting some aquatic exercise, with lap hours offered on weekdays (7-8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.-dusk). Red Hook’s pool is a favorite among locals and boasts lots of space for lounging.

Crotona Pool 1700 Fulton Ave., Claremont
Crotona Pool in the Bronx is located within Crotona Park, which is named after the ancient Greek colony of Croton, known for its Olympic athletes. The park also has a lake and several baseball diamonds and tennis courts. Crotona Pool is the largest in the Bronx, at a length of 300 feet.

Lasker Pool 110 Malcolm X Blvd.
In northern Central Park, you’ll find a facility complete with an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a wading pool. Runners and cyclists use East Drive, which is adjacent to the pool and lined with trees. The pool has a concession stand and there are free programs.
 

(with Rebecca Ungarino)

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