Beat the Heat at These Blessedly Cool (and Free) Off-the-Radar Public Locales


So it’s hot, and maybe you don’t have air conditioning. We’ve already told you how to keep cool without it, but there will most certainly come a time when you need to get out of your baking apartment and into the oppressive sunlight. There are tons of conventional public places in the city that have air conditioning, like museums or the movies, but do you really want to pay $12.50 a pop to see Eddy v. Jacob (again) just to stave off the heat? There are plenty other places to rip off AC — below, five public places in the city to thermoregulate on the cheap.

1. Subways
In my experience, the L Train and the 4/5/6 Trains have the best cooling mechanisms. Both interiors are colored in a lovely soft blue that emulates the arctic, and they are always blasting the AC. As long as you can withstand the nauseating advertisements, go on an off-hour and it’s a great public space to keep cool.

2. Grocery Store Freezers
Any grocery store will work, but Whole Foods is the most spacious and clean, with plenty of spots to stand relatively privately in front of chilled foodstuffs. There’s nothing like opening a clear glass doorway into a bounty of frozen veggie burgers — just don’t block the vegans.

3. Open Houses
Your apartment might not have AC, but the potential townhouses of rich people do. Many real estate companies list open house dates on their websites — Cocoran and Prudential Douglas Elliman both offer this sweat-free service.

4. Bookstores
Barnes and Noble totally beats your sagging IKEA furniture, and they have plenty of (free!) reading material to keep you out of the humidity for the whole day — not to mention a cafe to quench your mortal dehydration, and even bathrooms. Head to the mag section for things like Swim World Magazine or Mountain Living Magazine for extra-temperate reading material.

5. ATM Vestibules
I’m not sure how long you can hang here before you get poked with a police stick, but the ubiquitous little cash-dispensing rooms definitely have air conditioning. And the Bank of America vestibule on 14th and University is quite large. Just find a way to entertain yourself — bring some friends, have a pow-wow — there will be some guaranteed good people watching as your more affluent fellow New Yorkers collect their currency.

If worse comes to worse, you can always count on us to report it harder on the Air Conditioning Beat — it’s all we can think about on our 3-block walk from the 6 Train.