The Pool at the Holiday Inn

Dear Diary,

Okay, the subject alone suggest something very taudry and wrong. But it all started really from a simple conversation I had with my friend N, lying on the beautiful white sands of Long Beach, talking about how we can make best use of “staycations” in the city and still enjoy some water time. I had seen some hotels that offered their pools to the public (non-hotel guests) for a certain fee for the day, and we started talking about the possibilities of where to try out – Parker Meridien being one of them.

Well… fast forward a few weeks and on this very Sunday I get a text message from N who decided on a whim that we should go try one of these pools.

The criteria was that it should be an outdoor pool, and that is relatively near by and not tooooo expensive. That already ruled out Parker Meridien because they charged $100 for the day and we felt that was too much.

So….. we decided to try out the Holiday Inn Rooftop Pool – which was not really that much cheaper but because it was so close by (57th b/w 9th and 10th avenues) that we said,

“Oh….. WHY NOT.”


So we get to the Holiday Inn Hotel and have a hard time finding the pool – because a) we ignored any signs and just went straight to the nearest elevator bank, assuming that it was on the rooftop of this building. These tiny elevators are slow and very tight – and being we got there at the height of check out time, we were fighting for elevator space with the European tourists who were leaving. We got off at what we thought was the correct floor, but it turned out to be a bust because the pool was no where to be seen.

Not to mention… the hotel was undergoing renovations and while the lobby looked sort of dressed up – the hallways of this place were shabby and dismal. Oh…. did I mention that the hotel phone near the elevators were ripped off the wall and there was no phone to be seen? Seriously…. the hallways looked like the ones from “The Shining” (starring Jack Nicholson). I was waiting for the twins to show up from around the corner, it was that creepy.

Regardless….. we found our way up to the rooftop (which was on another wing of the building) and enter this weird world of loud cheap music and colorful characters. It was a completely different world from the rest of Manhattan.

Or…. was it?


Well… we get there and it’s this small(ish) pool surrounded by your united nations crowd of:

1/ The Eastern Europeans in their speedo and pasty white yet strangely olympian looking bodies and chiseled features

2/ The Coney Island Russians in with their hairy backs and fat, large old ladies in one piece swimsuits

3/ The Jersey Shore crowd where the macho larger than life ego guys with their boxomy babes

4/ The out of towner tourist families traveling in economy style

5/ The Asian twinkies (I use the popular gay term adapted for describing the skinny little pasty white asian girls) with their often nerdy looking white boyfriends

….and then….. there was us. LOL

The Eastern Europeans you can most definitely spot because of their colorful speedos and boy shorts. They look like they’re built for an olympic team – slim pretty girls and buff but pasty white guys. All have that “I’m a gymnast/ballet dancer/olympian” expression of non-chalantness and the “I speak with an accent and I do not give a damn” look.

Bad music (like old late 60’s to early 70’s rock and some Ozzie Ozbourne) blaring over the cheap speakers.

Cheap plastic pool side deck chairs though they were very generous about the towels, which was nice.

But hey… the pool was very clean and slightly cool which was really good. The only black person there was the lifeguard, who was a teenage kid doing his summer job and seemed rather strangely serious about the lifeguarding business. I was very proud of him to be watching over such a crazy crowd like this.

It was while I was in the pool that I watched one of the Eastern (?) European men get out of the pool and do his little ballet bar exercise at the top of the ladder, which was very bizarre. I have no idea what he was trying to show off (other than his perfectly turned out legs and his black boy shorts).

As we sat there enjoying the sun – on my right was this group of people from Jersey shore or Jones Beach (it seemed?) who this one guy “Bobby” with black curly locks that looked like an Alice Cooper wanna be rockstar – tanned, stocky and short, tatooed and while he was cool lookin’, he talked with a very high voice (that we thought was a woman at first) and he was insisting to his friends that he was going by the age of 35 and not 43. He rattled on about how he was loaded with money at one point and lost it all in gambling and cars – then he earned it all back by selling some houses – and then losing it all again to gambling and casinos. Geez. Then he said something along the lines of having the need to rebuild himself financially from scratch. Then his girlfriend (?) showed up and she was this pretty blonde and volumptuous chick in a yellow bikini. How stereo typical can this scene get???


I was also being eyeballed pretty heavily by this one man the whole time I was there – who has a slight balding head, kinda pasty for someone who’s been sitting there all day, body was relatively in good shape and definitely looked mediterranean though god knows what country, definitely middle aged. Oh… and he had sort of like speedo like black swim boy shorts on. Was he good looking? Oh no. Thought not ugly either by his attitude I think he thinks he is hot. I mentally nicknamed him Captn’ Tenille because he was wearing the black sporty sunglasses and he looked like he could be a captain of a small boat if he had a cap on – added that with a 70’s type sleeze to it and there you have the man.

And of course… after I had left the pool to take J’s dance class, he went up to my friend N to convey to her that he thought I was hot and that he frequents that pool often (should I be interested)……


In my opinion: anyone who frequents that kind of pool side culture every week looking for a woman…. has very very low standards. And the place wasn’t cheap (I cannot tell you how much we spent but we can certainly tell you we are NOT going back). May I remind you: we only went there for a total experimentation.

Through this little adventure, I have yet again, stuck my head into and discovered another face of New York City that I don’t know if I really wanted to see but there it was. As said before, for the price we had to pay and the type of clientele it garnered, we will NOT be making another trip there again but rest assured, I’m sure there are other little weird universes such as this that are populated on the rooftops of Manhattan’s buildings.

Stay cool folks,

Little (loving the heat) Reiko.

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