My friend Greta has been a New Yorker for almost two years now. Since she’s an event planner by trade, I assigned her the task of hunting down a great salon for my February visit to my birth state. After a walking tour through Little Italy and China Town, we headed a couple of streets over to SoHo’s Cleveland Place.

A few steps down from street level, Rescue Aromatherapy Nail Spa’s window pops out as passersby due to its clever, colorful Valentine heart and products display. The display changes to reflect the holidays – from the Fourth of July to Christmas and everything in between. Inside, hardwood floors and a richly colored décor let you know you’ve entered a different world.

Salon owner Ji Baek’s “Escape the City” philosophy is simple: She and the salon’s four additional nail technicians promise “luxurious hand and foot treatments in an environment that is both healing and relaxing.” After walking through the chilly, bustling city streets – a stark contrast to my beachcomber Southern California existence – I was ready to slow down the pace.

Like many of New York’s spas, Rescue doesn’t offer any acrylic or gel services, but has a full menu of hand and foot rejuvenators, including its Ultra TLC manicure, which includes an elasto-collagen hand mask and a brushed-on paraffin mask of bergamot, ylang ylang, and orange oils. Other highlights include the Rescue 911 pedicure and the Diva’s Night Out service, guaranteed to “add a little attitude, spice, and a couple of inches” to nails using wraps.

Since I was away from home, I decided to experiment. My nail technician, Rosa Marroguim, led Greta and me to a curtained room. We sat facing each other at dual manicure/pedicure stations and were able to catch up a bit during our services. There, Marroguim removed my fill-needy acrylics and replaced them with my first set of silk wraps. Marroguim came from Salvador eight years ago, but has been doing nails in New York for the last seven years. She skillfully applied the wraps in layers, lengthening my short natural nails just enough.

After a nice hand massage with a custom-blended aromatherapy lotion, Baek and Marroguim helped me “go New York” by suggesting a darker polish and shorter, square-shaped nails. Then Marroguim applied my first nail art daisy to each ring finger, which received a lot of attention for the rest of my adventure in the Big Apple.


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