NYC Outdoor Pools: The Rarest of Apartment Amenities

Published on Aug 18, 2011

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These days it seems that indoor swimming pools have become almost an expected amenity in a certain class of newly constructed luxury rental apartment buildings in Manhattan, and to a lesser extent, the outerboroughs. And, of course, there are certain advantages to swimming inside, mostly having to do with the months October through May. But while the indoor swimming pool may be the more practical fitness amenity, residents of buildings with the far-more-rare amenity, the NYC outdoor pool, sure do seem to be having a good time this summer!

The outdoor pool at the Mercedes House (pictured below in a rendering), in Hell's Kitchen, is just newest addition to this select group. And for the record, they also offer an indoor pool, giving you the best of both worlds.

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Last week, as we head into the season's homestretch, the New York Times took a look at this scarce Manhattan amenity, and discovered that there only 15 outdoor pools in any sort of private residence--and that includes condos and town houses--anywhere in Manhattan. And of the 15, only three are in Manhattan rental apartment buildings! To new residents moving here from cities such as Phoenix or LA, where outdoor pools are found in even non-luxury apartment complexes, this may come as a shock. But with real estate at a premium, many NYC outdoor pools have to be installed and maintained 25-50 floors high in the sky... not an easy proposition.

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The luxury rental building at 2 Cooper Square offers a nifty little outdoor pool (it's also triangular; this is not designed for laps), and The Stratford on the Upper East Side has a terrific "beach house" on its rooftop, pictured at top, with an outdoor pool and a kiddie pool. In both cases the decks are lovely, and, if it hasn't already occurred to you, hanging out by the pool and enjoying the sun and taking a quick dip is an excellent way to meet your neighbors.

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Once you leave Manhattan, rental apartments with outdoor pools become only slightly less rare. There are two across the Hudson that are particularly nice, in the Marbella in Jersey City, and The Vanguard at the Shipyard in Hoboken. Going east, there's Long Island City's new Avalon Riverview. But perhaps our favorite NYC outdoor pool in a rental is up in Riverdale, at Briar Hill, which is larger than I've seen available from at least one exclusive (and expensive) country club in Westchester.

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