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Stretch Your Wallet

Top-notch hairstylists, manicurists, masseurs, and pore-cleansers who will rub you and your bank account the right way.

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Dance of the tiny Japanese masseuse: At Salon de Tokyo, the all-important back walk costs only $70.  

RubDowns

Sol Jade Lady Spa
4 West 33rd Street (212-594-8040)
Open daily. Cash only.
Appointment necessary.
Possibly the city's best-kept secret, this basement-level, women-only spa offers a 90-minute treatment for $100: A steam is followed by a loofah scrub, a sauna, and a cucumber face mask; then come rubdowns with oil, seaweed emollient, and milk. The finale is a fabulous shampoo and scalp massage. Forget modesty, as you'll share a room with at least two others during busy hours.

Salon de Tokyo
200 West 57th Street, Room 1308 (212-757-2187)
Monday-Saturday. Credit cards accepted.
Appointment necessary.
Behind a nondescript door in a nondescript building is one of the best Shiatsu parlors in town. A mere $70 buys you an hour, including the all-important back walk. The therapist suspends herself from a rod in the ceiling, allowing her to control the pressure applied to your back, and takes direction from you.

Madison Towers Health Spa
22 East 38th Street, third floor (212-685-7155)
Monday-Saturday. Credit cards accepted.
Appointment suggested.
Virtually the same procedure as that at Salon de Tokyo, for $75 an hour. While the walls are a little thin (we heard another client yammering away in the next room), the practitioners are skilled. Afterward, you're taken to the Hot Floor Room, where you plop down on a bamboo mat and just let it all sink in.

Sal Anthony Movement Salon
190 Third Avenue (212-420-7242)
Open daily. Credit cards accepted.
Appointment necessary.
Sal Anthony's empire near Union Square includes, somewhat inexplicably, this fitness studio (two studios, actually) in a landmarked building. Here you can get a $55 one-hour rubdown ($85 for 90 minutes) from therapists versed in Swedish, Shiatsu, and Thai massage. Book an appointment before January 31 and it'll cost you only $50.

Wu Lim Services
145 Grand Street (212-925-1276)
Open daily. Credit cards accepted.
Walk-ins welcome.
One of the many basement-level Chinese massage parlors that downtown worker bees can walk into for stress-relieving rubdowns, staying fully clothed (just don't wear linen). There are several beds in the room; massages are sold in odd-minute increments: $7 for 10 minutes; $11 for 16 minutes; $21 for 31 minutes; $32 for 46 minutes; $42 for 61 minutes.

Manicure-Pedicure

SoHo Nail
458 West Broadway, third floor (212-475-6368)
Monday-Saturday. Credit cards accepted.
Appointment suggested.
A favorite of fashionistas, SoHo Nail boasts possibly the least expensive ($20) quality manicure-pedicure in town. But you'll pay in other ways, namely the time spent air-drying afterward, as this joint owns no drying machines. Ask for Lucy or the owner, Susan Kang. They're favorites of SoHo Nail regulars.

Bloomie Nails
132 Seventh Avenue (212-366-4545)
170 West 23rd Street (212-741-0105)
294 Eighth Avenue (646-638-2727)

Open daily. Credit cards for services over $20. Walk-ins welcome. The faithful flock to Bloomie Nails for relaxing pedicures in heated, pulsating massage chairs and mini-screens at the drying stations playing VH1. Considering that the manicure-pedicure is $35 ($3 extra for razor-scraping of your soles), it's no wonder the places are often packed. Kamala Gurung and Cindy Lee work wonders at the Seventh Avenue location; Mickey Youn is the pedicurist extraordinaire at the Eighth Avenue shop.

Waxing

Irene & Lucy
223 East 74th Street (212-772-0720)
Tuesday-Saturday. Cash only.
Appointment necessary.
A small spot on the Upper East Side known among the Birkenstock-wearing and the Birkin-bag-carrying alike for fabulous, thorough waxes. Eyebrow, $7; half-leg, $17; full leg, $39; bikini, $15 to $25; underarm, $10; arm, $20.

Randee Elaine
180 Seventh Avenue (212-229-0399)
Open daily. Credit cards accepted.
Appointment suggested.
The menu of services here lists twenty body areas that Randee Elaine will wax (other areas are negotiable), with prices ranging from $7 for chin or eyebrow to $30 for full leg with bikini. No body-hair issue is too embarrassing to be discussed and dealt with, which makes this place exceedingly popular with men.

Facials

Monhair Salon
553 Third Avenue (212-447-7744)
Open daily. Credit cards accepted.
Walk-ins welcome.
Liz Smith is a regular at this no-frills salon, which gets good reviews for all services (especially blow-outs). But regulars rave about Miriam Shimunova's facials ($65), which are, says one, "like having your mom do your facial." In other words, gentle but firm.

Mario Badescu
320 East 52nd Street (212-758-1065)
Open daily. Credit cards accepted.
Appointment necessary.
Seems like Badescu should be pricey, yet the 75-minute European facial is only $65. Naomi Campbell and Martha Stewart swear by it: a deep-pore cleansing, with the added bonus of a warming, moisturizing hand treatment. Ask for Corina Oprisiu.

Origins Feel-Good Spa
Chelsea Piers (212-336-6780)
Open daily. Credit cards accepted.
Appointment necessary.
It's a bit out of the way, but once you've had a "Time Goes By Uplifting Facial? at the hands of Nina Posylkin ($85), you'll be hooked. Posylkin uses low-intensity microcurrents -- a low-tech, largely forgotten electrical treatment. Afterward, take advantage of a steam and sauna in the adjoining locker room.


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