Early public floating bath. Image: New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
With summer winding down, New Yorkers are treading water til fall arrives–with late-season heat and kids that still need to be kept busy, back-to-school or not. The good news: Most city pools are open until September 10. This form of easily-accessible fun has been keeping NYC cool since the early days of the 20th century. The New York Times tells of the first city pools and their origins as public baths as early as 1901–and the even older pontoon-pools that floated in the Hudson and East Rivers.