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!! From Russia with Salt (lots of it) !!

While in New York a couple weeks ago, I decided to go check out a new (and when I say new, I mean really old) bathhouse in New York’s East Village. That’s right, the East Village: only a few short blocks from where the famous Cock used to be and a couple blocks down from the Phoenix.
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It was a unique place where I got treated pretty roughly, but with a certain tenderness. They beat me with oak leaves and rubbed me all over with a crusty white substance. Get your mind out of the gutter. It was salt from the Dead Sea!
The place I’m talking about is called the Russian and Turkish Baths, and has been operating in the same location since 1892. Just as their website says, “It’s a stress-free zone designed to let you chill-out and get some peace of mind.” With an in-house Russian restaurant and specialty services like Swedish/Russian massage and Black Mud Treatment, it’s a lovely way to kill a few hours or an entire day, depending on how much time you have. So make sure to stop by if you like the idea of a New York bathhouse experience without all the semen.

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!! Press-on madness !!

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Look carefully at the flowers hanging on the wall. Yes, it is a mosaic, but those are not ancient ceramic tiles. They are press-on nails of every color. Some genius at the nail salon on 9th Ave. and 23rd St. in New York crafted this incredible piece of art, and it hangs in their window. No need to pay admission.

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!! The warmest spot in New York !!

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Not everyone had to get around on skis during the blizzard. During a Feb. 12 walk in Central Park with snow falling all around, I discovered where all the ducks and other birds were spending the snowy day: in the water and the trees.
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!! Neither rain nor sleet nor gloom of night !!

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shall stay these shoppers from 5th Ave on a Sunday. This man came all the way from New England with his cross-country skis just so he could finally get those beautiful Asprey cufflinks he had been wanting. Too bad Asprey was closed along with other shops on Feb. 12, the day of the big blizzard in New York. The man really was lucky to have skied out alive considering the commonly-known fact that New York drivers tend to ignore all traffic rules and signals in the face of inclimate weather. “Who can think about stopping at a red light?? It’s SNOWING for Christ’s sake!”
We tried to do a little shopping that day as well, but our destination was closed as well. The staff at Takashimaya, the Japanese store with all the beautiful plants in their front window, probably didn’t feel like laying down cardboard for all the wet feet. Fortunately for us, they were open the next day.

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!! New York, New York, Adieu, Adieu !!

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Photos by Maxcat
“O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.”
The tall ladies above must be the subjects of this line from the Canadian national anthem. Never before have I been greeted by such a larger-than-life welcome committee than when I arrived in Toronto on Friday evening.
It is with sadness that I bid goodbye to all my friends in New York and to Beard Papa’s creampuffs, and with indifference that I leave the city itself. It’s just too expensive and you have to wait in line to do everything. I will move back some day, but only when I can afford to buy an entire brownstone in the West Village (see you guys real soon!).
If you are a regular reader, then you know that I have threatened in the past to move to Canada for various reasons. Now I’ve done it, but for one very good reason only: Love. I look forward to blogging from across the border and describing myself with the romantic label of “expatriate.” Feel free to use it when you’re talking about !! omg blog !! to your friends.

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