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The East Village: A City of Touch

Okay, so we were a little surprised to hear that Beyoncé gets her nails done in the East Village, but Brendan Bernhard might not have been. In his latest essay, he points out that ours is a neighborhood that caters to the body.

 touch - Susan Nail Ave ASusan Keyloun The nail paint at Susan Nail & Spa at 149 Avenue A.

It’s one of the things I love about the East Village (and miss when I’m gone): the amount of attention to which your body can be paid (if you’re willing to pay for it) on almost any street.

Take the venerable Russian & Turkish Baths on East Tenth Street between First Avenue and Avenue A (forever and ever the hottest place in the neighborhood in the literal sense), where in under twenty minutes, a lifetime’s worth of clogged pores can be brutalized into unleashing rivers of salt.

touch - baths IMG_0511Susan Keyloun

On weekdays after work the place can be as packed as a subway car, filled with the Ordinary and the Beautiful. You see boxers and dancers and models and performance artists and India-rubber yogis and other aristocrats of the physique, not excluding exhibitionists, dowsing themselves with ice-cold water in rooms ramped up to temperatures Satan would balk at. There are people who spend hours there almost every day of the year; after a decade or so, they start to look like steamed fish. In the afternoon it can be quite empty: I once shared the “Turkish Room” with a heat-loving rat. Read more…