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How to Take a Plunge

The loveliest public pool


There are few city pleasures as sweet as walking the sun-dappled streets of the West Village with recently combed wet hair staining your back and the vague smell of chlorine about you. Wouldn’t it be terrible if that feeling were reserved only for members of Soho House or guests at the Gansevoort Hotel?

Luckily, there’s the Carmine Street Recreation Center (1 Clarkson Street, near Varick), which is, from the Fourth of July weekend through Labor Day, the city’s best public outdoor pool. It’s on one of the leafiest, brownstone-iest blocks in the West Village; it’s very clean; and it’s free—all you need is a swimsuit and a lock.

There are often a lot of kids playing, but there’s always space to spread out your towel on the hot concrete and bake. It’s one of the rare instances in which the city feels suburban, and you’re glad for it.


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