If you want to play old-school hooky, take advantage of weekday car-rental rates and less populated beaches (not to mention highways) and drive to Long Beach, either end of Fire Island, or even nearby Plum Beach off the Belt Parkway—just be sure to wear SPF 50 all day if you plan on calling in sick. Public transportation (which usually includes a connecting bus) will get you to other sandy spots in about an hour: the LIRR to Jones Beach, the Staten Island Ferry to Great Kills, or the Q train to Manhattan Beach.
But if you’d rather not waste precious hooky hours on the road, then worship the sun in your own Zip Code. Book a suite with a flat-screen TV and a park view at Le Parker Meridien: It’s got a rooftop pool with an outdoor deck. If your personal days aren’t paid, the Holiday Inn on 57th Street (212-581-8100) sells day passes to its rooftop pool for only $35. Then, for a little floating R&R, rent a paddleboat in Central Park (at the lake off East Drive at 74th Street) or Prospect Park in Brooklyn (Thursday to Sunday, near the Lincoln Road–Ocean Avenue entrance).
As the sun fades, head over to the Hudson River for free hatha yoga in the great outdoors (every Wednesday, 6:30 to 7:30, at the Overlook at 66th Street and the Hudson). Then treat yourself to a leisurely dinner in the Sunburnt Cow’s open-air back room (137 Avenue C; 212-529-0005), followed by a pitcher of sangria on the swinging chair in the garden at Porch (down one block at 115 Avenue C; 212-982-4034). On the off chance there’s still stress lurking in your left little piggie, book a late-night massage at Osaka Zen Spa (50 West 56th Street; 212-956-3422; open until 3 a.m.). If you don’t sleep like a baby, seek pharmaceutical help.