Principal Hells: Land of the Rooftop Pools

Though the cobblestone streets house all sorts of horrors, the District of Packed Meat extends upwards as well. High above the teeming masses of tight-shirted young men and gum-snapping women there is another sort of Meatpacking District: the rooftop pools. In what can only be described as a feat of "hey they did it, so will we" design, both Soho House and the Hotel Gansevoort boast rooftop pools, right across the street from one another. Funny, considering their target guest is the type who'd rather drink lighter fluid than spend a moment baking in the heated squalor of Manhattan in the summertime.

Principal Hells: Land of the Rooftop Pools


The pool at the Gansevoort is the nicer of the two; located on the 26th floor, it's 45 feet long (larger than Soho House's) and boasts a damn nice view. It's expectedly littered with eurotrash, however, and those willing to get their hair wet will have to endure music being pumped underwater, a popular gimmick from 2003. The scene is calculatedly chill — it's a hotel pool, first and foremost, before a party venue, though the Ibiza Chill-Out Mix pumping in the background might suggest otherwise. An additional drawback: anyone can stay at a hotel, and that means the Gansevoort's emaciated sunbathers may find themselves mingling with a Minnesotan family that booked their room on Expedia.com.

Principal Hells: Land of the Rooftop Pools

And then there's Soho House, the pool made famous by those damn Sex and the City hags. Open only to members and their guests and located on the seventh floor, the view is nice enough - but the pool is 32x15', and that makes for a very cramped swimming experience. That is, if you'd dare to go swimming: get there in the morning, and you'll find at least 8 silver-spooned babes splashing around, plus a handful of water toys (this lovely image of the anatomically correct, somewhat-destroyed doll was taken there on a Sunday). On weekends, kiddies have to leave by 1 PM, at which point the place becomes quiet and pleasant for an hour until the masses appear, transforming the venue into a scantily clad networking bonanza. And good luck finding someplace to sit - the area is teeny-tiny, fluffy chaises and white mattresses all crammed together in hopes of fitting as many people as possible. If you don't get a spot, you can sit in an uncomfortable deck chair or, should you be so foolish as to arrive after 2 PM, resign yourself to an afternoon spent sprawled on the ground, enjoying $5 plates of beans and rice from the special Amstel Light BBQ Menu. Tasty and ghetto chic!