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McCarren Park Pool. Photo: Inhabitat

Address Lorimer Street; NY 11222
between Driggs Avenue and Bayard Street
Neighbourhood Brooklyn – Williamsburg, Greenpoint | See on map
Subway Nassau Av [G], Bedford Av [L]
Telephone +1 718 965 6580
Website http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/mccarrenpark/facilities/pools
Price Free. Note that you must bring a combination padlock for the locker to enter.
Hours Jun 28-Sep 3, 2012. Daily 11-15, 16-19.
Notes Bring your own water. No concession stands on the grounds.

When you’re desperate for a dip and don’t have access to a hotel pool, nor the patience for a trip on the LIRR, then there’s relief to be found at Brooklyn’s McCarren Park Pool. Only a short ride from Manhattan on the L, you could leave Union Square and be soaking your speedos within 20 minutes.

You won’t be mistaking it for Soho House, but a USD 50 million renovation has left the place pretty darn nice for a public facility. It’s free as well (use of the indoor facilities requires membership to the recreation centre), so the 1,500 capacity maxes out on sunny days. Get there early or be prepared to queue. Note that you’ll have to leave the grounds during the afternoon pool cleaning break.

Like the local neighbourhood, the crowd is a mixed bag, with families, types you wouldn’t really want to meet after dusk (leave your valuables at home), and hipsters all present in near equal measure. There’s a fair number of gay boys, too, although you may want tone things down a bit; the place has already been closed down a couple of times for civil unrest and you’re some way from Chelsea.