Trivia time: What is hottest place in the East Village? No, not Little Tokyo in the summer or whichever nightclub the NYT is raving about. We’ll give a hint: It’s well over 100 years old, has a pet named Bannik, and is the site of our next spa day.
Insiders know it as the “10th street baths,” others as the best worst-kept secret since 1892, and now you as the legendary Russian & Turkish Baths. Of course one recognizes it as an institution, where a wide range of personalities roam its halls--in the past, Sinatra to Jagger, and let’s not forgot Bannick (the Russian spirit known for keeping patrons company)--but love it for its expert ability to get the job done, which is to schvitz (FYI, that’s Yiddish for “sweat”).
In all honesty, we have to tell you that the heat is real--really worth it! What may at first be shocking will soon be soothing (we promise). The Redwood sauna is a good warm-up (in both senses), where girlfriends casually meet up to gossip; the Turkish Room really turns on the heat (in all senses), and will subsequently melt away all your problems as you vent to Bannik; but the real gamechanger is the Aromatherapy Room, where it’s not impossible to cross Tom Brady, who also comes to rub on some essential oils. After, if you’re feeling really bold, as for Victor, who’s reputed his massages, especially the platza (a Russian massage).One should insist on a private massage room because being beat by suds and a leafy broom in a million degrees is not as fun as it looks, however life-changing under reasonable temperatures.
To end, a mud mask on the rooftop patio, where a clear consciousness returns with fresh air; even your soul feels brand new, despite looking like the Mud Monster. Bannik doesn’t judge.
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