By Ellen McQueen, NYU
Midterms. For most college students across the country, these stressful and time consuming tests mean countless hours hunched over textbooks in the library, break-out inducing amounts of anxiety, and an excess of unnecessary nail biting, By the time midterms finally come to an end, and we actually have a chance to look in the mirror, the person looking back at us is stressed out and overtired, and wondering desperately how to make it through the second half of the semester.
As it turns out, an hour or two spent escaping the bustling streets of the city for pure relaxation and pampering is all it takes for me to feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready again to take on the world. And where could such a place be found? 373 Sixth Avenue, where Elegant Nails and Spa is available to entirely distress and calm your mind.
The first attribute I noticed about the spa is its color scheme. There are no screaming neon colors or even intense black and whites, but rather it’s entirely colored a sandy beige, transporting me to a mirage-like scene in a southwestern desert. The calming colors work perfectly with the quiet piano music in the background that contain no words but rather a beautiful melody seemingly able to clear my mind of all negative thoughts.
I was greeted by a staff of kind, energetic and helpful women happy to show me to my pedicure chair. I sat down, rolled up my jeans, and allowed the serenading music to close my eyes and relax my tense shoulders. The massage (oh yes, massage) on the chair was turned on for me, and I place my overworked feet into a bath of warm water. As I sat, my tense back and feet muscles being kneaded loose and my nose tickling with the soothing scents of lavender lotion, I realized just how much pressure we New Yorkers put on our feet everyday as they carry us all over the city to where we need to be.
Toenails painted perfectly and professionally (for when I do it myself the paint ends up pretty much all over my feet), I was escorted to the manicure table where another smiling employee, Leonor the owner of the spa, sat awaiting to paint my bitten nails. Humiliated, I placed my disgraceful hands in front of her, attempting with a look of apology in my eyes to hide the hangnails.
“Students expect their peers to have their nails beautiful,” Leonor explained as she rubbed my exhausted arms with soothing lotion. I thought of the countless occasions I’ve sat next to someone with dirty or chewed fingernails, and realized just how true this statement was. I asked Leonor about the type of clientele that usually come to the spa, and she explained that everyone from students to the elderly and both males and females are often showing up for all the wonderful and peaceful treatments that are offered. So, boys, there are no more excuses for those unkempt nails. “Males come for a variety of treatments as well as women,” Leonor explained.
Once she had finished the flawless job on my now perfectly manicured nails, Leonor led me to sit where the paint could dry under warm air. She gave me a short but much needed massage as I sat, soothing my uptight shoulders and calming my overwrought back. I looked out the window to the busy street, feeling fully pampered, relaxed, and able to breathe with ease.
“It’s nice to relax,” Leonor responded to my inquiry about why it’s better for busy and hard working students to take time out of their day for a quick, and cheap, treatment. That is certainly an understatement. Knowing full well the demanding schedule of someone balancing school, work, and a social life, I know how hard but incredible it is to take time out of your day to treat yourself to a pampering of some sort. But after spending an hour in Elegant Nails and Spa, I can assure you that whether it’s a ten-minute massage, facial, or manicure and pedicure it is most definitely worth the trip. Of course you can paint your own nails at home or try to DIY a facial, but you’ll lose the professional aspect as well as the feeling of being pampered and completely at peace.
Exiting Elegant Nails and Spa, I promised Leonor I would be back in a couple weeks for another flawless manicure. It was almost surprising stepping out of such a magically calm surrounding and entering the busiest and most hectic city on the Earth. The soothing lullaby turned to cars honking, the beige colors to grey cement, the wafting of lavender to street meat, and it seemed to be a completely different world. I realized the importance of escaping this anxiety and the stress and expectations of college life to just be able to sit, relax, and breath without constant interruption for one hour. What a concept.
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