Lap Swimming in Manhattan
Nothing beats the Zen-like mesmerism of a swim in the ocean, but here in town we do have reasonable substitutes for the real thing. Our listings include pool lengths so you don't find yourself dodging an aquacize class or flipping more often than you are breathing. The Department of Parks and Recreation runs five Olympic-sized pools (50 meters long): all are free to all comers (with a photo ID) and open from July through Labor Day. The best hotel pools are at the Mandarin Oriental (75 ft.), Trump (55 ft.), The Penisula (42 ft.), The Parker Meridian (40ft.) Millenium UN Plaza (40ft), Millenium Hilton (40 ft) and Hotel Gansevoort (45 ft.) Many New York City gyms have lap pools; though they are not all full-size, those at the New York Sports Club and the Reebok gyms are posh and clean. And you can find comraderie in your watery laps in a class or workout at Chelsea Piers.
Lower East Side
The East Village is home to immigrant families who have lived in the affordable housing here for generations (paid tribute to in the Lower East Side Tenement Museum and Katz’s Delicatessen, both on Delancey Street). The newly upscale profile of the East Village is headquartered on Rivington Street and embodied by the Rivington Hotel and restaurants like teany. An exploration of the East Village should be done on foot: walk east on First Street at mealtime where you’ll stumble upon Prune. East Village landmarks are Washington Square Park, New York University, and the Strand Bookstore; Tompkins Square Park and Chinatown (visit Pearl River Mart, a Chinese department store) are nearby.