Brooklyn's "cool," as in hip, for sure.
But on a sizzling hot summer day in New York, where can you go to GET cool? With temperatures reaching toward 100 on some summer days, you might want to know about places to cool off in Brooklyn.
Some of us think we know how to handle heat. But you're never too old or too smart to learn something new. For instance, did you know that "spending even two hours per day in air-conditioned spaces can significantly reduce the number of heat-related illnesses," according to the NYC Office of Emergency Management?
Most of Brooklyn's 58 neighborhood public libraries are air conditioned. Check the Brooklyn Public Library website to locate a library near you, and to check its hours.
The good news, according to BPL, is that every resident of Brooklyn lives within a half-mile of a Brooklyn Public Library. Plus, who could get bored in a library?
2. Where to Find Air Conditioned Stores in Brooklyn during a Heat Wave
When in doubt, go shopping! Commercial establishments that might be a place to cool off, relax or and get some shopping done:
- Big supermarkets, including huge ones such as Fairway in Red Hook
- Atlantic Center Mall (see list of stores at Atlantic Center Mall)
- Kings Plaza
- Chain stores such as Costco, IKEA and Barnes and Noble; Macy's and other department stores.
IN the same vein, when in doubt, eat! Other places to find air conditioning:
- movie theaters
- ice cream parlors
- wine stores.
Citywide, there are official cooling centers where you can go to cool off when the heat index is "dangerously high."
These centers are especially important for those with health concerns, from asthma to heart disease, for whom really hot weather may pose a significant health hazard. Plus, if you don't have air conditioning at home, or can't afford the electricity bills, these public spots are an affordable alternative. Most are in libraries, senior centers and community centers. Some are wheelchair accessible.
Where they are: Locations vary! Call 311, the New York City information hotline, or (212) 504 4115, or log on to www.NYC.gov to find a location near you as locations change daily.
4. Where to Find Breezes in Brooklyn for Relief on Super Hot Days
Just looking for a nice breeze? Try these spots:
- Brooklyn Heights Promenade
- Kingsborough Community College campus in Sheepshead Bay
- Brooklyn Bridge Park
- East River State Park in Williamsburg
- the boardwalk between Brighton and Coney Island
- New York City's beaches (warning: don't go in the water unless the lifeguards are on duty)
And then, there are piers! Although they're unshaded, you can catch both views and a breeze off the piers of Brooklyn, try Pier 69, the Canarsie Pier, the pier at Coney Island, and Valentino Pier in Red Hook, too.
5. Where to Get on the Water to Cool Off: Boating And Boats in Brooklyn
Here are some places to go boating, or at least get out on the water, in Brooklyn: Sheepshead Bay commercial fishing boats; the IKEA ferry connecting Red Hook and lower Manhattan; ferry transport from DUMBO to Williamsburg and, on weekends, to Governors Island; kayaking off of Red Hook and Brooklyn Bridge Park and Sebago Bay kayaking club, which runs some open paddle events in Jamaica Bay.
Sometimes all you need to cool off is a dunk in a sprinkler. So turn on your hose, if you have one. Or bring the kids to the local playground; most of the larger ones have a water feature.
As for that most Brooklyn tradition of opening the fire hydrant: Please don't unless you pick up a spray cap first! The NYC official website says, Pick up a spray cap at your local firehouse if you want to open a fire hydrant to cool off. That cap will reduce the amount of water lost.
And, if someone else has opened one up, then sticking your arm, leg or head in a big spray of water is a fun way to get really wet, really fast.
7. Where to Find Shade in Brooklyn Parks during Hot Summers
Not every park boasts shade, but some of Brooklyn's wonderful large public parks have big, old leafy trees that offer some relief from a broiling sun. Try Prospect Park, Fort Greene Park, Owls Head Park in Bay Ridge, sections of McCarren Park in Williamsburg, and of course, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (entrance fee required). Note that because it is new, Brooklyn Bridge Park is comprised of mostly open spaces.
8. Where to Find a Pool or Beach in Brooklyn to Get Cool during a Heat WaveNOTE: BROOKLYN PUBLIC POOLS ARE NOT OPEN UNTIL THE CLOSE OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOL YEAR
Brooklyn has many public pools, both indoor and outdoor. Many pools have extended hours during heat emergencies. However there is very little shade at the outdoor pools and you cannot bring an umbrella, so go early or later in the day.
As for NYC beaches, try Brooklyn's Coney Island, Brighton Beach or Manhattan Beach, which have lifeguards. Bring an umbrella: the water is cooling but the sun reflecting off the sand can cause sun burn - and make you feel even hotter!
The classic way to cool off is at the beach or in a pool, but beware the midday sun and make sure to lather up with sun screen!
9. Stay Cool for Health!
With summer temps promising to bring sweltering days of summer to Brooklyn's two and a half million residents, it's worth knowing where you can go to cool down. And when the thermometer heads upwards of 90 or so, staying cool can be more than just a matter of comfort. Extreme heat can cause illness and even death among children, the elderly, and those who simply don't, as the British used to say, get out off the noonday sun.Stay cool!