Manicures at these three spots are basic (filing, cleaning, moisturizing with hand massage, polish application) and fast (about twenty minutes)—and they only run $13. Choose from dozens of nail polishes, peruse (carefully!) a range of current magazines while waiting for nails to dry, or watch tiny TV monitors mounted at most drying stations.
389 Grand St., nr. Suffolk St.; 212-253-9978
The husband-and-wife owners of this Chinatown spot have imposed a no-acrylic, no-airbrush policy since opening in 2003, so the space smells airy and fresh: better for workers, customers, and nails. A regular manicure is $8.
Pastel Nail, Spa, and Tanning
193 Second Ave., at 12th St.; 212-477-0002
This cheery East Village spot does brisk business in basic manicures for $11. Added bonus: It's open till 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
These eight spots turn the basic manicure into a party. There are music videos and free Cosmos Thursdays and Fridays from 5 to 9 p.m., and the manicures themselves are thorough and long-lasting.
164 E. 33rd St., nr. Third Ave.; 212-684-7880
This immaculate, spacious salon takes walk-ins and for only $10 turns out a precise manicure with quality OPI polishes in under half an hour.