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The obvious places to go when it's hot out and you need to cool down are, of course, some of our area beaches and public pools. But you knew that already didn't you? In fact, everyone else knows that too, and so our area beaches and public pools tend to get so completely over-populated when the weather gets hot and steamy that they become unbearable themselves, a veritable 7th circle of hell. Dante was definitely thinking of McCarren Pool when he wrote the Inferno. So where should you go if you want to get cold and wet but don't want to be surrounded by too many other people? Simple, really. Go somewhere private, like one of the many Russian bathhouses that dot Brooklyn. The traditional Russian banya is the ideal place in the summer because you can spend a day shifting from steaming saunas that rival the outside heat from which you've just escaped to plunging into icy cold pools that will chill you to the depths of your soul, if that's a thing you think you have. Most of Brooklyn's finer banyas also have massages and other spa-services available if you really feel like treating yourself. So, drink some Russian black tea with cherries and whip your friends with birch branches in an effort to increase circulation or something, and feel like you are far, far away from the steaming sidewalks of the city. At least for a little bit.
Brooklyn Banya; 602 Coney Island Avenue, Kensington brooklynbanya.com
Sandoony; 1158 McDonald Avenue, Midwood sandoonyusa.com
Mermaid Spa; 3703 Mermaid Avenue, Coney Island mermaidspany.com