The best cure for a hangover in NYC has got to be the bathes. Be they Russian, Turkish, or Jewish (yes, Jewish) the best thing to do for yourself is get a bloody mary from the SoHo Grand and once refueled go sweat out every bad decision you made the night before.
My personal Manhattan-based favs are the Wall St Bath & Spa and the Russian and Turkish Baths. Let's explore:
Wall St Bath & Spa is the sorta place you can take that girl/guy/vacuum cleaner that ended up in your bed last night to smooth the transition into the daylight hours and see if she/he/it is at all interesting/interested in you. Bring a magazine and plan on staying for hours and hours because all you'll do is want to go back and forth from the steam rooms to the jacuzzi/pool area. Sounds nice right? If you're a cigar enthusiast I highly recommend the smoking lounge where you can feel totally ludicrous sitting in the fancy leather chairs while wearing your swim trunks.
The Russian and Turkish Baths are a little more...hardcore. I imagine that's where the above Abu Ghraibesque photo was taken. There's no luxurious jacuzzi tub, just the cold dip pool you can pop into between steam rooms which makes you have past-life flashbacks of when you were a penguin and all your other penguin friends knocked you off of the ice and into the water. Still it's somehow a nice thing to do in between sweats.
Then there's the guys that walk around and offer to beat you (hello Chris Brown, job opportunity!!!). As their website states, "Lie down while in the Russian Room and a platza specialist will scrub you (actually beat you) with a broom made of fresh oak leaves, sopping with olive oil soap. The oak leaves contain a natural astringent, which will open your pours, remove toxins, and actually take off layers of dead skin. Some described the platza as 'Jewish acupuncture.'" I won't touch that last line it's too good already.
My friend Dave got a treat one time while at the Russian and Turkish Baths. While changing in the locker room a man came up to him and offered a sample massage. Dave took him up on that and...well...at that point I had to leave because of the noises he was making. That and the fact that I was giggling. That guy definitely did not work there Dave. But hey, a massage is a massage right? Guy time!
photo courtesy of TimeOut New York