Keep Your Cool: Eight Things to Do in Lower Manhattan in a Heat Wave

Keep Your Cool: Eight Things to Do in Lower Manhattan in a Heat Wave

Summer just started this week and we’re already thickly into our first heat wave of the year. It’s early in the season —public schools aren’t even out yet! — so it’s okay if you’re not quite prepared for sweltering temps. While some people bask in the glorious, cleansing sweat of a June sauna in the city, a lot more of us would prefer to temporarily move into a walk-in freezer. These eight Lower Manhattan activities — plus a few bonus options — really have your back on days where you’re trying to avoid back sweat, with options ranging from boat rides to indulging in boozy ice pops to taking refuge in an air-conditioned movie theater. 

Hop on a sailboat

One tried and true method for beating the heat? Get on the water. Escaping land by boat is a surefire way to drop a few degrees, one honed by the ancient travelers and better than any modern air conditioner or fan. We rounded up four ways you can set sail in the summer, with prices ranging from fancy to free. 

Indulge in a frozen drink 

A heat wave means no one will look at you weird if you demand a frozen treat at any time of the day. A good place to indulge that craving is the Conrad New York Downtown’s celebrated Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar (102 North End Ave.), home to these popular boozy “poptails” — i.e. cocktails containing spirit-filled ice pops. 

Icy delights are also waiting at Cowgirl SeaHorse in the form of margaritas. The bar, located in a corner spot at 259 Front St. boasts some excellent summer energy with its “Coney Island meets the rodeo” vibe. And while you’re in the Seaport, grab an ice cream pup cup from the Seaport Paw to help your furry friends beat the heat, too. 

Get a box fan 

If you’re stuck inside during the heat wave and air conditioning isn’t an option, you can at least get the air moving around you (or on a particularly hot day, why not both?). Pop by a local hardware store like neighborhood staple Dick’s Hardware (9 Gold St.) to pick up a classic box fan before you stew too much in stagnant heat. 

Hang out in free in-store air conditioning

One of the greatest reliefs of a New York summer is a simple one: use someone else’s air conditioning. Nothing quite beats the arctic, jet-engine blast of a large grocery store’s industrial HVAC system. The Whole Foods at One Wall Street is not just a vast retailer with many coolers and freezers, it’s also underground, so you can truly hide from the heat. (Not to mention that it might have some other benefits!)

I scream, you scream…

If classic ice cream is more your speed, you’ve got some great options, from simple milkshakes to fancy gelato. We rounded up 10 of the best here. 

Cool off at the Drafthouse  

Speaking of underground bunkers where you can hide from the heat, the Alamo Drafthouse at 28 Liberty St. is one of the best to ever do it. In addition to its comfortable theaters to catch a summer blockbuster, the theater is also home to the Press Room bar, where you can spend an hour perusing a mini museum of vintage movie ad sheets while throwing back a cold one. 

Catch a breeze at the Elevated Acre

Often described as the closest thing to an outdoor oasis in Lower Manhattan, the Elevated Acre is the spot to seek out when you are feeling overheated amid the city skyscrapers. The small but serene spot catches a nice breeze off the East River, so you can cool down (slightly) while still enjoying the outdoors. Stay hydrated!

That’s that me, [ice cream and] espresso 

What do you do when you’re craving caffeine in a heat wave?  Say the magic word: affogato! Head to Da Claudio at 21 Ann St. to order one of the best in the nabe, made with gelato alla vanilla and some powerful espresso.

Bonus: Go to the beach! 

When it’s truly too hot to do anything else, you can always hit the bricks and beat it to the beach. The NYC Ferry will pick you up at Wall Street and drop you right in the Rockaways, a leisurely but classic way to escape the city heat. 

And for desert creatures:

If you’re one of those sickos who can’t get enough of the blazing ball in the sky, here’s your reminder that we have free wifi throughout the neighborhood, so you can find the hottest rock to bask on while you work. And if you do start to overheat, you can always hop on Downtown Connection to get yourself to one of the above places for a cooldown. 

photo: iStock

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