There are spas all over New York. When I decided to embark on a little spa series for The Anti Tourist (have you read about Ayurveda?), I figured that much out quickly. So. Many. Spas. Pick a block, pick a corner, throw a stone. They’re all jammed in here, all claiming to heal. I had to scour through internet review after internet review before finally deciding which spas I’d try out myself for this project. I chose the ones I chose all for different reasons. Graceful Services, however, hits a certain Anti Tourist spot for me.
Hidden on the second floor of a building right next to a deli (what isn’t right next to a deli in NYC? Look at all of ‘em!), Graceful is a teeny tiny space, even for New York standards. And here’s something I like about them: they get right to the point, in every way.
When I called beforehand in an effort to figure out exactly what I wanted to try, the receptionist was more than patient with me, explaining each treatment in detail. We both decided on the House Massage for me. She warned me beforehand that my masseuse might be a little rough on me unless I asked her to go easy. I didn’t ask her to go easy. I wanted it rough.
The charming short-haired Asian woman was kind in her approach to me: she stopped in intervals to ask me if I wanted her to go easier. I told her I didn’t. “The harder the better” I said. “You’ll regret it tomorrow” she said.
It did hurt the next day. I never doubted that it would. But she got kinks out of my muscles that I didn’t even know were there.
She followed my massage treatment with a facial, which was also satisfyingly painful. I tried not to open my eyes as she extracted all of the shit I was embarrassed to have under my skin. In fact, I didn’t open my eyes the entire time. But you know what? My boyfriend couldn’t stop commenting on my skin the entire week after that facial. I call that a job well done. A job well done in a hard-to-find spa that you’ll now find, hopefully, the next time you’re in New York.
By: Elizabeth Seward
Other NYC Spas on TAT: