No, this is not about Oprah – as of this moment I know no more than I did at the last posting. I’m still in a holding pattern.
This is about one of New York’s tidiest secrets: a underground spot hidden away on East 90th Street where they give, and I mean this- the best manicure in the world.
Ask anyone who goes there. But you don’t really know who goes there unless you go there as it’s such a secret.
I know you think I’m kidding but I’m not.
It’s not so hush-hush as there was an article in Vogue some years back about it and Vogue even admitted it was the longest lasting pedicure they had ever seen. It’s true and if you go there you end up with great nails no matter how bad your nails may be when you first enter.
The problem is getting in. You can’t walk in off the street if you happen by it or your pinky cracks before a big meeting. The fact that it’s hard to find is one reason– also, unless they know you they will not unlock the door to let you in. Truly. It’s like a gambling casino that you have to have a password for.
I used to be obsessed with the mob, sometimes when I go there I imagine getting into the Nail Spa is what it was like getting into The Bergen Hunting and Fishing Club when it was up and running.
You will never find it on your own, it’s down some stairs; there is a tiny almost hidden sign, a locked door and a bell. You can’t even see from the window what is inside as the room is in back. It’s concealed – trust me.
And to get in, you have to be recommended by someone who goes there.
If you call and just make an appointment they won’t do it. You have to say, “I’m a friend of Tracey Jackson’s or whoever you know who goes there and they told me to call.” And then they will give you an appointment.
It took me a year before I could book a standing– well, it might have been six months but it was not immediate. You have to prove your loyalty. But once you’re in – you’re in and then you get the best manicure and the best nails you can possibly have. How they do it I do not know. What they do I do not know. It’s like the secret recipe in the secret sauce. But nobody else can pull it off the way they can and every time I venture away, I come running back.
I got to them how else but through a friend at the gym. I have really bad nails, always have. For much of my life I have had extensions, acrylics, you name the gimmick if it gave me nails I tried it. I like nice nails. I’m a girly girl and I like all things that go along with it. But my nails have always refused to cooperate with my vanity.
My last quick fix was something called Dashing Diva – they have bright pink parlors all over the city and they have these glue on nails that work until well, in my case the glue ate into my nail bed and my nails literally died. They were dead. I went to adoctor (I don’t remember which one, I think one of Glenn’s skin doctors) and he said “I think you will lose them all.”
Lose them all? I almost died. What was that going to look like? I wouldn’t even have anything to glue something fake onto.
Then one day I was at the gym with these little stumpy, dead things on the ends of my fingers and this woman I didn’t know well at the time came up to me and said “What happened to your nails?”
She had gorgeous nails. I tried not to break into tears. She said, “You don’t go to those Korean places do you?”
I nodded. She looked at me like I said I had cooked my dog for dinner.
“You don’t know about the Nail Spa?” It sounded like “You didn’t know George Washington was the first president?” I was clearly supposed to, with the exception of my nails I guess I looked like the kind of person who might.
“No, I don’t,” I said sheepishly.
Then she proceeded to tell me how you couldn’t get in without knowing someone already there and that I must, must, must call them the second class was over, tell them Sherry sent me and get there fast without passing go – like now and maybe they could save my stumps.
So I did what she told me. And I have been eternally grateful.
Even the girls at the Nail Spa were pretty appalled by what I had for nails. But they are a devoted lot and they were committed to getting me in shape. It would take awhile and it did– nine months, but eventually I had really pretty nails. From a death sentence to thriving in nine months is a miracle.
I still don’t know what they do.
Maintenance is a part of it. They like you to come in between weekly appointments for a touch up. It’s a commitment and unless you live between Eighty-Second and Ninetieth between Second and Fifth it’s a schlep. One girl on Saturday who lived in the Village was questioned why she came so far uptown to get her nails done. BTW – there is a lot of conversation there, it is a club after all. Anyway, she said, “There is nothing I wouldn’t do for my nails and this place is the best in the city.” And she is right.
It’s so secretive they don’t have a listing or a website online. I cannot link you to them.
I found it under something called “services listed.” In this day and age that is private.
125 East 90th Street
You can use my name. Just try not to embarrass me. I do a good enough job of that myself!