There's no reason to sweat through this long, hot season in the city: Liquid relief is just around the corner -- literally. We found the best pools in and around Manhattan -- bring the sunscreen, and dive right in.
- Asser Levy Recreation Center: Hit the pool first thing in the morning for early-bird laps -- or stop by after work (it's open until 8:30 p.m.). For a day of frolicking, pack some sandwiches and spend the day splashing around with neighborhood youngsters who congregate at this city-owned pool in the afternoon. (East 23rd Street and FDR Drive; call 212-447-2020 for hours.)
- Chelsea Piers: The fee is a little stiff here -- $50 a day -- but it gets you access to all of the Piers' world-class facilities: For starters, there's a six-lane, 75-foot pool; an indoor sand volleyball court; a quarter-mile indoor track; and two sundecks overlooking the Hudson River. (West Side Highway at 22nd Street; 212-336-6000.)
- Carmine Recreation Center: During July and August, this city-owned facility's 105-yard outdoor pool is open every day from 11 to 7. Leave your wallet at home (it's free), but don't forget a towel and a lock for your locker. (1 Clarkson Street; call 212-242-5228 for info.) Sheraton Manhattan Hotel: The best way to play hooky when it's hot and humid? Take a lunchtime dip at this tranquil midtown oasis, on the fifth floor of the hotel. Stretch out on a chaise longue for a nap on the sundeck just outside the glass-enclosed pool. (Pool is at 790 Seventh Avenue; the $20 adult tickets and $10 kid tickets are purchased across the street at 811 Seventh Avenue; call 212-621-8591 for info.)
- Riverbank State Park: Perched 69 feet above the Hudson River, this spot features panoramic views of the George Washington Bridge and the Jersey Palisades, as well as an Olympic-size pool. Bring the family, and make a day of it. (679 Riverside Drive, at 145th Street; call 212-694-3600 for info.)
- Le Parker Meridien: A full day of relaxation at this luxury hotel's pool-spa complex will cost you $50, but you'll get your money's worth taking in the rays, and views of Central Park, from the sundeck above the glass-enclosed pool. Guests have full access to the 17,000-square-foot fitness center and poolside food-and-beverage service. (118 West 57th Street; call 212-708-7340 for info.)