02/09/17 2:37pm
Moscow on the Q train: A guide to Brooklyn's 3 Russian bathhouses

That leafy branch thing is a venik. Via Mermaid Spa’s Facebook

In these cold months, it’s necessary for your physical and mental health to pamper your body with as much warmth as possible, and a trip to one of Brooklyn’s banyas is a damn good way to do it.

These aren’t the glorified massage parlors many Americans will associate with the idea of a spa, these are casual social clubs featuring a great diversity of hot and cold water treatments and lots of older Russian men sitting around in felt hats, eating fruit and relaxing with their guard down in a way many New Yorkers didn’t realize was possible. Sure, NYC used to have an abundance of public bathhouses, but it’s been nearly a century since we either demolished, abandoned, or converted those stunning revival structures into condos, because who needs community spaces when you have capitalism?

The price of admission to these banyas may seem high, but if you do it right you’ll spend all day within their windowless, steamy chambers and leave with very small pores and the feeling that you’ve gotten your money’s worth. And don’t scrimp and save by not spending any additional cash after the entrance fee — the food is really freaking good. Your body will thank you. So come take a trip out to Brooklyn’s nether regions and immerse yourself in Russian hospitality. (more…)

01/10/17 4:26pm
Via Flickr user @cipherswarm.

Via Flickr user @cipherswarm.

We have lots of work to do in this country about reframing previously accepted social norms (and, no, that doesn’t mean making it ok to shout “WHAT IF NAZIS WERE ACTUALLY GOOD” in a crowded subway). Add to that list naps, the most perennially underutilized and oft-overlooked form of sleep. They’re tiny little miracles that are both good for your health and contain the magic of a fairy tale slumber that can jolt even the weariest lunch-bloated office drone back to life. We’ve come out in favor of naps before, and it seems Obama is leaving office without hearing our demand for more naps. So for guidance we must turn to foreign lands, specifically Japan, which has made great strides in nap normalization. As the New York Times reports:

“In most countries, sleeping on the job isn’t just frowned upon, it may get you fired. But in Japan, napping in the office is common and culturally accepted. And in fact, it is often seen as a subtle sign of diligence: You must be working yourself to exhaustion.”

We must also get to a place where our bosses will look on approvingly as we knock back a couple quick Zs at our desks. (more…)

08/23/16 12:52pm
Through Labor Day, City Acupuncture is offering $19 intro sessions at its Bed-Stuy location. Photo via @city_acupuncture_bedstuy

Through Labor Day, City Acupuncture is offering $19 intro sessions at its Bed-Stuy location. Photo via @city_acupuncture_bedstuy

Last week, I was walking home from the train when I noticed a sign outside City Acupuncture, the spa and wellness center which moved into the storefront on the corner of Bedford and Lexington Ave. in June, months after SCRATCHbread shuttered in October (R.I.P.). The sign was a promo for $19 for an hour of acupuncture, and it certainly caught my eye.

Until that moment, I’d largely ignored the new business, as it was no longer a place where I could procure the most buttery, delicious shortbread for $2, or a scrumptious breakfast mess of grits, pesto, bacon, soft-boiled egg and kale. Although I’ve never done acupuncture, I know that it’s generally quite pricey — on average, $80-$120 per hour session at a private practice, and $40 at a community practice, according to City Acupuncture’s blog. $19 for an intro session was certainly a steal. Should I try it? I was a little skeptical — at that price, was I going to get stuck with (and by) an intern?

But because I’ve been pretty stressed out, on the hunt for a new apartment — which, in New York, is its own special nightmare — and I do have consistent soreness in my hip flexor and IT band and piriformis muscle, due to being a runner who doesn’t stretch or do yoga enough, I figured I’d be brave and go for it. Besides, my day had already been shot to hell by an embarrassingly debilitating hangover; surely at the very least, acupuncture would help alleviate that? (more…)

08/10/16 3:40pm
I've heard of spotting someone in the weight room but this is ridiculous! Via @acusvida on Instagram.

I’ve heard of spotting someone in the weight room but this is ridiculous! Via @acusvida on Instagram.

This is certainly the worst summer of your life if you happen to be a super fan of Olympic sports who also suffers from trypophobia. All your favorite athletes are covered in spots! The hot look at the Rio games right now is definitely DalmatianCore thanks to the popularity of the practice known as “cupping” lots of the athletes have adopted. It’s got roots in ancient Chinese healing practices, similar to acupuncture. The process involves placing cups on your body, adding heat or suction to pull the skin away from the muscles. As the Times wrote, “Athletes who use it swear by it, saying it keeps them injury free and speeds recovery.” Michael Phelps does it, Hope Solo does it, Natalie Coughlin does it, and certainly a lot more people who believe in Mercury in retrograde and juice cleanses are going to try it after its moment in the spotted-light.

Should you try it? I don’t know! Definitely don’t take medical advice from us, but if you are into trying things that are labeled “pseudoscience” on Wikipedia, who are we to stop you. Maybe you’re wondering: is this some super fancy treatment you can only pay for using coins made out of smelted gold medals? No, it’s actually pretty cheap, and you can do it at lots of places in Brooklyn. It’s not for everyone though, apparently.

“With cupping, it depends on the constitution of the person,” one practitioner in Greenpoint told me. “We don’t always recommend it depending on what the person is coming in for.”

Here’s a price check of what cupping costs around Brooklyn. (more…)

07/25/16 11:27am
Learn this move at the next free Open Ropes, Wednesday nights at BK Bridge Park. Photo via @DoubledutchempireMelissa on Facebook

Learn this move at the next free Open Ropes, Wednesday nights at BK Bridge Park. Photo via @DoubledutchempireMelissa on Facebook

ClassPass is a rip-off, running is boring, yoga requires too much patience, PureBarre, no one can afford; double dutch, anyone? If you’re looking to sweat it out, but none of the traditional or trendy exercise options are doing it for you, the schoolyard classic could be worth revisiting.  Especially when it’s offered for free, and all you need to bring is your own two feet. Through August 31, Double Dutch Empire is hosting Open Ropes, free drop-in sessions every Wednesday from 7-9pm at Pier 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The public jumps are open to all skill levels, so whether you’ve still got those recess moves or it’s your first time and you’re a clumsy Kathy, double dutch instructors will show you the ropes—and all jump ropes are provided.  (more…)

06/24/16 1:04pm
Transmitter Park in Greenpoint is one of the places to catch free outdoor yoga this summer. Via goodyoga.

Transmitter Park in Greenpoint is one of the places to catch free outdoor yoga this summer. Via goodyoga.

It’s a stressful time in the world right now, what with a Brexit shaking up the world economy and a somber Pride weekend kicking off, not to mention the overstuffed man suit alien Men in Black currently running for president as a Republican. On top of all that, you have your job, which maybe doesn’t give you as much outside or active time as you’d like to have this summer.

The good news is you can de-stress yourself for free before, after and during work all summer long thanks to a big selection of free yoga classes around Brooklyn, most of them outdoors too. You can get up early to do a lotus pose in Prospect Park, pop by BRIC for a free lunch stretch accompanied by music or check out the Navy Yard’s new boardwalk/landscape to do some downward facing dog after you clock out. Here’s how to do free yoga nearly every day of the week this summer. (more…)

06/22/16 3:48pm
Be body positive without going cash negative: Free summer workouts you can do today

We don’t have a muscle beach in NYC, but any beach can be a muscle beach with these workout tips.

Maybe your New Year’s resolution didn’t work out as planned. Maybe the mild winter didn’t mean you exercised more. And maybe last year’s swimsuit is looking like one of those strings people wrap around ham before roasting it.

If running to catch the G is no longer cutting it and you’ve exhausted the city’s free gym trials, never fear; we’ve put together a guide to quintessential workouts for the busy brokester that’ll help quickly you get your beach body (whatever that means for you; we’re body positive here, and also free-stuff positive!) with still plenty of time to enjoy the summer. And if our all-day workout is just too rigorous for you, scroll on down to the bottom for suggested free activities to get in shape. (more…)

03/17/16 3:25pm
This is actually a very seriously smart plan. Credit: DNAinfo

This is actually a very seriously smart plan. Credit: DNAinfo

Ever since they added a bar to their space to cater to the drinking populace of North Brooklyn, Greenpoint’s Sunshine Laundromat and Pinball has been making headlines almost weekly. It’s a practical date spot! It’s a uniquely vintage mainstay in a changing neighborhood! It’s one of the main reasons Chris Gethard didn’t move to LA! The laundromat made the news again this morning, when DNAinfo found that owner Pete Rose put Plan B and pregnancy tests in their vending machines, alongside the candy bars.

Apparently, Rose intended “purely for entertainment purposes.” He was browsing the aisles of CVS when, as he recalled to DNAinfo, “I saw [the PlanB] and thought, ‘That doesn’t belong in a vending machine,’ and so I bought some.”

Color me humorless, but I don’t get the joke. In fact, I think it’s a seriously great idea. There are tampon and pad dispensers in most public restrooms in America, and smart schools in NYC are going so far as to offer them for free to students. But bleeding into your underwear isn’t nearly as terrible (or difficult to resolve, I mean, it’s called toilet paper) as an unplanned pregnancy. So why shouldn’t we be able to buy Plan B in vending machines? (more…)

02/03/15 10:09am
Fly 45

Pretend that you’re a rich Upper West Side mom with a great post-baby bod with a Flywheel session through ClassPass.

New Yorkers love the new and the next, from restaurants to bands to workouts. So when I heard about ClassPass last spring, I was intrigued. The NYC-based offers a $79-$99/month passport to the fitness classes around the city. The membership gains you unlimited access to hundreds of gyms and studios in the New York area (even Hoboken!), with activities ranging from boxing and boot camps to spinning and pilates. The only catch is that you’re limited to three classes at an individual studio per month, so no matter how much you love the dance-like-Beyonce class, you’ll have to get your fix elsewhere until your next cycle. It seemed like an antidote to every gym excuse out there: proximity to work and my apartment, not having the right equipment, not open early or late enough, and the drag of falling into a workout rut. After my first week of classes, I’ve never looked back.

While ClassPass truly lets you become a fitness junkie, with some members taking more than one class on a daily basis, I try to set more personally attainable goals. A four-class weekly routine makes me feel like Sporty Spice while getting a balanced diet of kickboxing, spinning and yoga. As a mini-adventure, I always reserve a weekly slot to try something I’m afraid of, like tango or traveling above 42nd Street. Not only does it keep things interesting–it inspires my mind while teaching my body about muscles I never knew I had. Take a peek behind the scenes of some of my favorite classes, and discover just how many ways there are to sweat in this city, besides chugging a marg mid-July at Habana Outpost. (more…)

01/02/14 9:29am
flu shots

It’s the least wonderful time of the year. via Army Corps of Engineers’ Flickr

If you think you’ve dodged the flu bullet because you haven’t gotten sick so far, you’re wrong. Flu occurrences peak in January and February and the virus is known to hang around until May, even the summertime if you’re that unlucky. You could just try overdosing on echinacea and the unpronounceable oscillococcinum or whatever hippies do. Or you could just get yourself shot up with live cultures with a vaccine and be done with the whole thing. You don’t have to wait until there’s a run on flu shots like there is every year either, we’re here to help you get ahead of the game. (more…)