31 Jan One of My Favorite New York Places, The Russian Turkish Baths, Profiled in the Times
“The hipsters come in with their Groupons, sporting their tattoos and their man buns,”
If you’ve lived in New York and never been to the Russian Turkish Baths, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice. Likewise, if you don’t live here, but come with any regularity, you owe it to yourself to check out what goes on here. The best way I can explain it is like a vacation from real life. Leave your phone upstairs and head back to the past, to bond and spend time with other men (in the nude) in a (mostly) nonsexual environment. It’s basically all I’ve ever wanted, and you leave with baby-soft skin and an urge to nap that is mostly unparalelled.
The Times wrote up this spectacular assessment of how the business has changed over the last few years, and offers a quick glimpse at what an afternoon here is like:
On a recent Monday evening, it was hard to find a bit of bench at the Russian and Turkish Baths in the East Village. It was cold out, and people crowded the saunas — young, slim and in skimpy bathing suits.
The 124-year-old bathhouse on East 10th Street has long been a New York institution, a bona fide melting pot, where the sweat of celebrities mingles with that of rabbis and taxi drivers. It’s where downtown denizens have gone to detox and discuss the deeper things of life, and where Orthodox Jewish men have gone to convene, or to hide from their wives. For much of its existence it has been a men’s club for those far beyond the age of vanity.
Now, it’s a little different.
On that Monday, the patrons were still mainly male, but rather than bellies the size of airbags, many of them had washboard abs, and the discussion turned not to aches and pains but to Tinder dates. “The hipsters come in with their Groupons, sporting their tattoos and their man buns,” Rich Trince, 50, a longtime regular, said later.
You can read the entire profile here, and please ignore Mr. Trince’s complaints about the manbuns. I’m certain that wasn’t referring to me directly.