Feelin’ hot hot hot!

You’ll find that weekends in the summer are pretty empty in the city because most people escape to their little beach towns for the weekend.  I don’t blame them.  Summer weekends in the city are pretty brutal.  The oppressive heat in the subways makes it hard to breathe, steam rises from the asphalt, and the clunker of an A/C we have in our little apartment doesn’t do squat for cooling us down.  But for me, I enjoy the emptiness in the city.  I can sit anywhere on the subway, walk zig zag patterns on the sidewalk, and just enjoy all the space.  But it is friggin’ hot
Last weekend my friend A.Ho and I decided that we were too pale for mid-July and we needed to spend our Saturday rectifying this situation.  But because it was going to be so hot, we needed to tan somewhere with a pool.  And so we started researching our options:
  • Find a friend who lives in a building with a rooftop pool – we have no such friends.  Darn.
  • Swanky hotel pool – at some places we would have to pay a hefty fee to use the pool for the day, at others we could only use the pool if we were guests of the hotel (i.e., $400+ for a night at a hotel we didn’t need
  •  Swanky gym pool – pay a lesser, but still hefty fee to use the pool for the day
  • Public pool – free, but extremely crowded and must contend with cannon bombing children everywhere
A few weekends ago, I walked by a pool in an undisclosed location that looked pretty decent.  I looked it up when I got home and found out that it belonged to a rec center.  Membership to the rec center was $75 for 6 months.  Not a bad deal, especially since we could use the pool from now until the fall as many times as we wanted.  We decided we didn’t need anything swanky– just us, tanning oil, and a pool to plunge in.  I told A.Ho about it and she was sold. 
On Saturday morning we took a cab to the rec center.  At the doors, two “security guards” checked our bags for weapons and food.  We also needed to show we had a lock for the locker.  We passed the screening and headed inside the building.  Hmm…no front desk to sign us up for membership.  We kept walking in search of someone to pay and found the locker rooms, pool, and other amenities. 
“Wait, wait…we didn’t pay, we have to pay somewhere…let’s go back and ask that information desk guy.”
To info desk guy, who didn’t even ask for our membership card:  

“Hi, we want to use the pool –“
“Yeah, yeah just have the security guards check you out.”
“Um, yeah, we did, but uh, we need to pay membership?  We’re not members.”
“You don’t need to be a member to use the pool.”
“It’s free?!?”
“Yeah.”  (He might as well have said “Duh.”)

At that point, A.Ho and I looked at each other like we just won the lottery and scampered away giggling like little idiots, before the info desk man could wisen up and demand $75 from each of us.  Once in the locker room, we let our emotions go:

“FREE!!!!  FREE?!?!?  FREEEEEEE!!!!!!!”  

And then, like any good NYC-er, “We can’t tell anyone about this!”
Very few things in NYC are free — and of those very few free things, almost none of them are something you actually want.  The free things that people do want either get so popular they become no longer free or impossible to get.  For this reason, New Yorkers keep things like this a secret.  Sorry folks, but I’m not gonna ruin it for the rest of us.

The pool turned out to be ok (but since it was free, it was amazing).  There were lots of rules to comply with and there weren’t any chairs so we had to lay our towels down on the concrete.  It filled up by noon time with children and teenagers who cannon bombed to their heart’s content.  We actually didn’t mind the splashing since it was so hot.  All in all, it was totally worth the $0 we spent.