Every now and then this city provides one of those fun Sex in the City moments. I had one last Thursday when my girlfriends and I went to the Russian Turkish Baths in the East Village. Well a much less glamorous and a bit more grimier moment to be specific.
When the idea came up to go I have to say I was a little nervous. I had this picture in my head of a big room filled with old sweating Russian men with towels that were too small. My coworkers definitely made some old balls jokes that did not help. Equipped with my bathing suit and water bottle I made my way to E 10th.
Now this place has a story to it. Apparently the two Russian families who own the bath had a major falling out years ago and rather than sell to one or the other they decide to run the business on an alternating basis. Its so old school and for some reason it makes me think the place is more legit. And I read it on the internet so it has to be true. Now one thing about this place is that it brought out the OCD in me. I expected a spa feel to it but when you walk in you kind of feel like its 1977. The locker room is tiny and old, and besides the anxiety of being in a bikini when I’m this pale and haven’t gone to the gym in weeks, I also had to fight the urge to go get some Clorox cleanup. Not the best start. Once we got downstairs we had four rooms to choose from, two steam rooms and two saunas. First we picked the aroma steam room. After I got acclimated to the heat, around 120 degrees, I started to get it. You seriously just sit there and sweat everything out. I stopped caring about my hair or my butt, its just too hot to. We all started to relax into it. We caught up and spoke about recent trips and engagements. We took much needed breaks in between rooms. People were walking around in mud treatments and the veterans could tell we were newbies and would give up little tips. We managed to do all the rooms, some of them twice, but by the two hour mark we were done.
I have to say that shower when I got home was one of the best in my life. After I washed away the sweat of it all I realized how great I felt. Seriously every pore was clean and my skin felt amazing. Corny words like revitalized come to mind. It felt ten times healthier than after I did that stupid juice cleanse. I get why people are addicted.
-Water is essential. I was never so happy to have my $35 S’Well water bottle because it really did keep my water ice cold even in that crazy heat. They don’t have a refilling station but everyone uses a sink that tasted fine. They do sell water.
-Make sure to bring your own flip flops. I didn’t and they have free sandals there but they were dingy.
-A change of clothes to go home. We all came directly from work so changing back into my tights and skirt was less than comfortable.
-Bring a plastic bag to transport your bikini home in. You were just sweating in it for hours and you don’t want in touching everything else.
-Read the yelp reviews. They will give you a good idea of what you’re walking into
Usually when we go out for a girls night there is a lot of wine involved and the next day I have a massive headache. Not only did this feel awesome after, it was really fun to mix it up. But I think my favorite part was getting out of my comfort zone with my friends, definitely. I know I’m getting corny again. I’m not sure if I’m going to become a regular but I am definitely going to do it again. Next time I’m getting a mud bath 🙂