20 ways to cool off

Go from a hot mess to ice cold.

  • Go to the Met

  • See a film

  • Blast the A.C., get naked, make a cocktail and watch a classic New York film

  • Find some shade

  • Sip a locavore smoothie at ABC Elixir Bar

  • Pick up some organic popsicles at People's Pop and take them up to the Highline

  • Drink five great iced coffees

  • Play the ultimate hot-day sport (yes, we're talking about Ping Pong)

  • Get the hell out of New York

Go to the Met


Go to the Met

Museums are your standby in hot weather, but the Met beats them all. It's large enough to spend days exploring and it only costs $20, or whatever you're willing to pay (associated cost: a withering look and part of your self-respect). Knock off these ten must-see works at the Met, then see the five-star exhibit "Hipsters, Hustlers, and Handball Players: Leon Levinstein's New York Photographs, 1950--1980." If you want to remind yourself why you're in air-conditioned heaven, pop up to the roof garden to watch the climbers working up a sweat as they expand Doug and Mike Starn's installation Big Bamb. 1000 Fifth Ave at 82nd St (212-535-7710, metmuseum.org). Mon--Thu, Sun, 9:30am--5:30pm; Fri--Sat 9:30am--9pm. Suggested donation $20.

See a film
Movie theaters: the last refuge of the sweaty. Buy a huge, diabetes-inducing soft drink and settle in to watch one of 30 must-see summer films at your local cinema, or choose the perfect spot from our guide to the best movie theaters in NYC.

Blast the AC, get naked, make a cocktail, and watch a classic New York film
Jordan Kaye and Marshall Altier, authors of How to Booze, did TONY a solid by suggesting film-and-cocktail pairings for chilling out and cooling off when it's summer in the city. So laugh at those suckers heading out to Long (as in long, painful drive) Island and tie one on with one of these five summer cocktail recipes.

Find some shade
Your apartment's become a sauna and the dog wants walking—you're going to have to brave the outdoors, but if you're more of a Robert Pattinson than a Donatella Versace, there are still plenty of leafy, shaded groves to escape the sun. Choose from two spots in each borough with this guide to sunshading (okay, and sunbathing) in NYC.

Sip a locavore smoothie at ABC Elixir Bar
Fresh off a glowing five-star review from TONY critic Jay Cheshes, Jean-Georges Vongerichten's market-driven ABC Kitchen has launched a smoothie and juice extension called ABC Elixir Bar. So even if you can't afford to eat in the main dining room, you can still get the same gorgeous, ethically sourced ingredients down your parched gullet with refreshing drinks like the Local (pear, apple, carrot, beet, lemon, ginger and local bee pollen). 35 E 18th St between Broadway and Park Ave South (212-475-5829, abckitchennyc.com). Mon--Wed, Fri 10am--7pm; Thu 10am--8pm; Sat 11am--7pm; Sun noon--6pm. Average drink: $9.

Pick up some organic frozen treats at People's Pop and take them up to the High Line
Before heading to the High Line for a stroll and some people-watching (no, not that kind, you perv), nip into Chelsea Market to score some farm-to-popsicle-stick frozen treats at the newly opened People's Pops (Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Ave at 16th St; 305-491-7087, peoplespops.com). More of an ice-cream person? We've got a pictorial guide to ice cream in NYC and a map of where to buy ice cream so you don't have to go too far. More of an ice-cream-between-two-delicious-cookies person? How about eight delicious ice cream sandwiches. Yeah, we like ice cream a lot. Got a problem with that? Whatever—it's too hot to fight. Let's just bury the hatchet over a waffle cone.

Drink five great iced coffees
It's the time of year when you need your caffeine boost to double as a core-temperature--reducing refresher. But there's no need to settle for regular brewed coffee poured over ice. Instead, grab some real-deal iced coffee—that would be cold-brewed, for the uninitiated—at bean-geek hangouts like Ninth Street Espresso (700 E 9th St between Aves C and D; 212-358-9225, ninthstreetespresso.com) and Stumptown Coffee Roasters (Ace Hotel, 18 W 29th St between Fifth Ave and Broadway; 646-214-5749, stumptowncoffee.com).

Play the ultimate hot-day sport (yes, we're talking about Ping-Pong)
When it's too scorching for the tennis court, downsize to a paddle and whack some balls around on the Ping-Pong table. At the subterranean New York Table Tennis Federation (384 Broadway between Walker and White Sts; 646-772-2922, nyttf.com), you can hire a table for an hour for just $10 a person (paddles are included), or book a lesson to get ready for your gold-medal run. If you require Olympic-quality tables with cushioned floors (and a beer between sets), head to the Susan Sarandon--backed table-tennis club SPiN New York (48 E 23rd St between Madison and Park Aves; 212-982-8802, spinyc.com), which is sort of like the bastard child of a swanky gym and a fist-pumping nightclub.

Get the hell out of New York
The sun is still blazing an hour's drive from Manhattan, but a funny thing happens when you're not surrounded by concrete, buildings, and eight million people: It's a lot more pleasant, and you can sit beneath any tree you like without elbowing a small child for the last sliver of shade. For daytrip ideas to idyllic towns like Beacon (home of the modern-art mecca Dia:Beacon) and Tarrytown (home of the Headless Horseman), choose from these day-trips from NYC. Or, if you want to get away for a whole weekend, check out these weekend getaways.

Go ice-skating
Yes, we wish it were December and New York had become a winter wonderland too, but you can still ice-skate at the World Ice Arena. Put some of your winter wardrobe in a bag and work on your triple axel. Flushing Meadows Corona Park, enter park from Shea Stadium--Willets Point Station overpass (718-760-9001, worldice.com). Summer public skating Mon--Thu noon--5:15pm; Fri noon--5:15pm, 7--9:50pm; Sat noon--4:45pm, 8--9:50pm; Sun noon--4:45pm. Weekdays $5, weekends $8; skate rental $5.

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