Since 1991, when Jane Liu opened the first of her three Stuyvesant Town nail salons, the 110-building complex built for World War II veterans has filled with Bluetooth-sporting Treo addicts. Luckily, walkers and Tory Burch flats coexist peacefully at Liu’s 500 square-foot, cherry wood-filled lacquering locales, since both factions are keen on the low prices and Liu’s repository of neighborhood gossip (best scooped at the 23rd street outlet where she usually holds court). The petite Shanghai-born clotheshorse partial to leggings and structured jackets can be spied suggesting Essie shades to clients—which also include nurses from nearby hospitals—sitting at the six-person manicure table. Busy Fridays and Saturdays find young women reading the Star and text messaging from five pedicure loungers that tilt back and gently vibrate. Spa pedicure options include marine masks—cooling for pavement-pounded summer calves—and milk and honey baths juiced with jojoba and marigold oil to soften ashy winter legs. All come with sea salt and alpha hydroxy acid scrubs followed by nap-inducing foot rubs; most clients opt for a 10-minute back massage at the end, which accounts for all the alarm-clock beeping that’s obtrusive in the small space. For full-body Swedish rubdowns and deep-cleansing facials, clients detour north to Liu’s full-service Queen Jane Day Spa.
Indoor surfing, spinning lovefests, a luxurious pig-placenta facial, and more.