716 Greenwich St., 212-206-9714
Deep Tissue ($90 to $110)
Owner Rick Sharpell’s deep-tissue treatment is used by injury-prone athletes, but it’s also perfect for stressed-out New Yorkers who think it’s not a real massage unless you cry. He improves circulation and flexibility, eases knots, and helps dislodge built-up lactic acid—great if you work out a lot.
HURTS SO GOOD
- Remède Spa at the St. Regis Hotel
2 E. 55th St., 212-339-6715
The Remède Customized Massage ($80 to $230)
The technicians here do not ask how your day went or if you’re visiting the city; they simply want to know “how’s the pressure?” The pressure, which will be applied using techniques drawn from shiatsu, deep-tissue, and Swedish massage, can be as intense as you ask for. The result: serious muscle relief that feels almost medical.
JUST A TOUCH
- Essential Therapy
122 E. 25th St., 212-777-2325
Swedish Massage ($100)
At this serene, Indian-themed studio, former New York Mets masseuse Carlos Arague will stay well away from pressure points. Arague’s “make-nice massage,” as he calls it, consists mainly of long, smoothing strokes from the neck to lower back. It’s enough to put you to sleep, at least until the essential-oil scalp massage wakes you up, fully refreshed.
YOU WON’T FEEL A THING
- The Spa at Mandarin Oriental
80 Columbus Circle, 212-805-8880
Oriental Harmony ($750)
It’s listed at two hours, but block out half a day. Pre-treatment, warm up in the turbo-charged Jacuzzi pool; afterward, gaze at the 35-story view from the relaxation lounge. The treatment starts with a calming foot bath, followed by a gentle body scrub, then a rinsing shower; an hour of trance-inducing four-handed massage is the almost weightless coup de grâce.
Pleasure and Pain
Massages from hard to soft.
From the 2006 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).