131 East 57th Street
Jin Soon Natural Hand and foot Spa
56 East 4th Street
If you are looking for the perfect, old-school manicure/pedicure, you will be in beauty-parlor heaven at Pierre Michel ($22 for fingers, $45 for toes), where the experience comes complete with ladies who lunch and launch into detail about men who won't commit while Romanian beauticians cluck sympathetically. The service is expert and thorough: Calluses and leathery patches are removed (painlessly) with carrot-peeler-like tools, cuticles are cut, and the polishes last and last. But you'd better want a classic shade -- there is no glittery blue applied at Pierre Michel. Every color under the sun, from Chanel orange to Nars purple-black, is there for the choosing at Jin Soon Natural Hand and Foot Spa. Jin Soon Choi branched out from a swinging career as a jet-set manicurist-to-the-stars to open her classy little East Village salon for the rest of us, decorated with rice-paper screens, red silk-shantung pillows and polished stones. Choose from treatments like Essence of Soul (a soak in sea salts and essential oils followed by a scrubbing; hands $15, feet $30), the Balm of Purity (hot-lotion immersion and massage; $20, $40), or Spirit of the Beehive (paraffin-wax treatment; $30, $60). If at all possible, snag an appointment with Jin Soon herself -- the staff, while extremely nice, seem somewhat confounded by the complexity of the offerings.