There are a number of free beaches and pools in all five boroughs for New Yorkers who can’t flee the city during the hot summer months.
Orchard Beach, the Bronx’s only public beach, which is on the Long Island Sound, is easily reached by way of the Bx5 (click here for schedule and route map) and Bx12 (click here for schedule and route map) buses which drop off right at the beach during the summer. The scene is loud and crowded on hot days, but Fields 1 and 2, farther away from the bus stop, are normally not as boisterous.
For a dip in Brooklyn you can take the D, F, N, Q to Brighton Beach, located in Little Odessa, Brooklyn’s Russian neighborhood. After the beach, getting a bite at one of the many Russian restaurants in the neighborhood is recommended. Coney Island, located at the southern end of Brooklyn and right next to Brighton Beach, offers a beach with sand, albeit synthetic, as well as an amusement park and lively boardwalk. There are concerts on the boardwalk throughout the summer.
Rockaway Beach in Queens (on the A train) is a popular destination for both bathers and surfers alike, and it is less crowded than Coney Island. Also, the area is prone to rip currents so most people evacuate the beach as soon as the lifeguards go off duty.
South Beach in Staten Island accessed via the s51 bus (click here for schedule and route map) from the ferry offers a full view of the Verazzano Bridge and Brooklyn and is often deserted, probably because many people opt not to swim in the lower New York harbor. There are often concerts and fireworks though, and there’s a decent boardwalk.
All outdoor public pools in NYC open on June 28th and close on September 3rd. This summer NYC Parks department will be unveiling two new pools in Brooklyn, the McCarren Park pool and the Brooklyn Bridge Park pool. To find a pool near you click here.
If unsure about what trains or buses will get you to your oasis of choice hopstop.com is a great resource!