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Take a Virtual Vacation to the Beaches and Pools of New York City

Where to cool down when it’s hot in the city.

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Tobias Hutzler, McCarren Pool, New York, 2014. (Photo: Courtesy of Tobias Hutzler)

A hot summer day in New York City is like no other. The temperature can push towards 100 degrees and there’s no words, really, for the smell. On days like this, there’s only one solution: find a pool or beach, and fast.

Fortunately, New York has 55 outdoor pools, and 14 miles of public beaches. Many have a long history. McCarren Park Pool, pictured above, first opened in 1936. In fact, eleven pools opened across the city that summer, including the largest, Astoria Pool. This was a bumper year for overheated New Yorkers: Orchard Beach in the Bronx opened in July after a renovation, to crowds of 18,000 people. 

These destinations of refreshing respite are the subject of a new exhibition opening June 23 at the Arsenal Gallery, SPF 16: NYC Pools and Beaches in Contemporary Photography. Drawing from photographers such Wayne Lawrence, Rona Chang and Tobias Hutzler, the exhibition is a celebration of these essential public amenities. SPF16 runs through to August 26. 

Thomas Roma, From Sunset Park, 1992, Brooklyn, NY. (Photo: © Thomas Roma, Courtesy of the Steven Kasher Gallery)

Juliana Beasley, Bernadette and Bryan, 2008, photographed at Rockaway Beach. (Photo: Courtesy of Juliana Beasley)

Greg Miller, Untitled, From the Series Asser Levy Pool, 2010. (Photo: Courtesy of Greg Miller)

Wayne Lawrence, Kye, Kaiya, and Kamren, 2009, photographed at Orchard Beach. (Photo: Courtesy of Wayne Lawrence)

Christine Osinski, Boy Flexing, Staten Island, 1983-84, photographed at South Beach Staten Island. (Photo: Courtesy of Christine Osinski)

Lauren Welles, Hanging Out, Coney Island, 2013. (Photo: Courtesy of Lauren Welles)

Rona Chang, Concrete Bathers, Astoria, NY, 2011, photographed at Astoria Pool. (Photo: Courtesy of Rona Chang)

Michael Kirby Smith, Poolside, 2013, photographed at Astoria Pool. (Photo: Courtesy of Michael Kirby Smith)

Tobias Hutzler, Coney Island, New York, 2014. (Photo: Courtesy of Tobias Hutzler)

Bruce Katz, Brighton Beach, 2000. (Photo: Courtesy of Bruce Katz)