131 East 57th Street
Sure, there are more nail shops than newspaper stands in New York, but few have the dedicated career manicurists you'll find at Pierre Michel. After a visit to Romanian-born Mariana Diaconescu or Connie Popa, your hands are perfectly groomed, shaped, and trimmed. Just as important, the manicures ($25) have staying power: A difficult-to-obtain top coat is imported from Colombia so chip-resistant that the results should last through the week.
1377 Third Avenue, near 78th Street
GREAT DEAL: For a quicker and less costly fix, the manicurists at Karen Wu do a speedy, thorough job for just $11, and you can opt for a simultaneous neck and shoulder massage at a dollar a minute.
New York's Best Spas: The 2002 Report