The Big Chill: 6 ways to stay cool in NYC for free in a Heatwave

It wasn’t always easy to stay cool in NYC. In the old days of Stuyvesant Town, (and I know, because I’m what you would call, ‘a lifer’, ) there was no air conditioning. It seems hard to believe now, that the massive suburban/urban complex that prides itself on luxury and amenities, wouldn’t offer one of the basic, simple luxuries of life. But it’s true. Instead, my mom improvised with other ideas. We’d spend half the summer in the city, and the other out of town in some Hamptons or Martha’s Vineyard cottage for an unreal deal, before the areas became what they are now. In the city, we’d spend the day at movies, sneaking from one to the next, staying in the cold, dark theaters all day long, until we finally emerged at 6 pm. And then when I got a bit older, it was off to Sleepaway Camp I went.

Now, most people take that basic luxury of air conditioning for granted. When the city experiences a tropical heatwave, and the island gets taken over by massive heat like the kind we’ve had, both city and suburban dwellers alike need a reprieve. Hamptonites hang at the beach, and city peeps binge watch Netflix on their air conditioned couches, while kids run through sprinklers outdoors.

But when the temperatures soar into the nineties, remind yourself that your ability to stay cool indoors isn’t just a choice, it’s a luxury. If you can’t rely on home to keep away the heat, here are 6 fun, and free ideas for how to stay cool in NYC without an air conditioner.

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1. Dip your feet in a city fountain. Many a toe has been known to dip in the Washington Square Park fountain. Please note, this activity is at your own discretion. Unless of course you’re Man Repeller for Topshop, in which case you’re fine.

stay cool in nyc, free nyc, washington square park

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2. Spend the day shopping. If you can’t sit inside your freezing home all day during a heatwave, how about inside a store? We all know how freezing stores are in the summer. We feel the rush of freezing air, every time we pass by a closing, or opening door. If you’re someone with willpower for window shopping, try spending the hot, summer day in and out of some of your favorite stores. Find a few ideas for where to go by clicking below.

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3. Hang inside Starbucks for a few hours. 

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4. Fly down a big water slide. August can be a rough month for New Yorkers. It’s hot, humid, and the city can be unbearable. But once again, Summer Streets is back to relieve hot, bored city dwellers. The event, which began on the 6th, and ends on the 20th boasts an array of fun activities, but most notably, the Vita Coco beach 270 foot water slide. You can learn more about SummerStreets here. 

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5. Head to a free pool. Sure, some classy islanders are able to boast Soho house membership, and spend summer weekends atop the Gansevort roof. But even if you don’t hang with the socialites of the city, doesn’t mean you can’t partake in a dip. There are plenty of pools all around the city where you can actually go for free.

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6. Try some skin icing. The act, which, as Live Balanced Naturally explains, is actually a centuries old ritual, not only cools off your skin instantly, but also rejuvenates your skin.

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other not free, but affordable ideas:

see a movie double header

Use a face mist  


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