Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Russian Turkish Baths

I am super cranky and depressed lately. Too much work and too much to worry about. They are raising tuition at my son's school and if I don't get financial aid this year - well - this will have to be the last year. $26,000 is getting a bit surreal in my book. I've spent over $115,000 in post tax dollars in the last five years. Jesus, think of all the subtle cosmetic surgery I could have had by now!

As it is, I can barely afford to spend $25 at the Russian and Turkish Baths around the corner from my house. I remember the first time my brother took me there. I was intimidated at the thought of wearing a towel or skimpy robe among strangers (men and women)...my fears were quickly dispelled. If your looking to meet Leonardo DiCaprio - he might be here - but he'll probably be sitting next to a big old Russian man who is sitting next to a big old Ukrainian woman who is sitting next to a model who is sitting next to the Polish guy who runs the video store who is sitting next to some cute gay guy who is sitting next to me.

One of the saunas is hotter than hell - a darkish colored room with a big furnace thing in it. You can sit on different level stairs - although sitting on the top stair would be like sitting on the surface of the sun (a quote from another visitor). They have large plastic buckets and a faucet so you can periodically pour freezing water over your smoldering head. Don't dare go in without a bottle of water! There is also a hot steam room, pool and regular type sauna room. You can also have a variety of old fashioned massages and scrubs if you so desire. I haven't taken that leap of faith yet. Back on the entrance floor you can help yourself to some traditional eastern European fare - at some table set up front. If John the Baptist lived today - he would probably work there. It's a great place to clear your mind. I especially like how people sit on the front stoop and smoke cigarettes with their robes on.

I better stop by soon.

6 comments:

Michael said...

How interesting!
In a recent post, I described the public bath house my dad and his family used on 11th Street between Avenues B and C (or was it A and B?) This would've been around 1910, 1912.
It's an extremely impressive building with its granite facade and wrought-iron gate.

Remember that iconic photo taken during the Vietnam War of the Saigon police chief summarily executing a Viet Cong suspect, holding the pistol just inches from the man's temple? That photo was taken by Eddie Adams, who won a Pulitzer for it.

He bought the bath house back when the Lower East Side (a name I prefer to the East Village) was still in transition. He paid about $400,000 for this huge edifice and turned it into a photo studio/private residence. His widow lives there now.

Michael said...

P.S. More importantly (and please forgive me for overlooking this), I hope your mood and your finances improve soon! Who can't relate to such feelings? What often helps me when I'm feeling down is the knowledge that nothing lasts indefinitely, and that everything moves in circles.

east village idiot said...

Hi michael - I definitely know the building you're referring too. It's an amazing placde. I've always wondered who lived there - it looks like a production studio.

Thanks for you kind words. I'm just one of those ridiculous mothers who feels that education is everything (not money, cars, fancy homes, etc.). I put a great deal of care in raising my son to be an open minded, creative, bright, optimistic child..unfortunately - it's killing me!

I'm still depressed and cranky - but I'm also Irish - so when you say that nothing lasts indefinitely I agree..it could be worse! Thanks for being nice about it.

east village idiot said...

Hi michael - I definitely know the building you're referring too. It's an amazing placde. I've always wondered who lived there - it looks like a production studio.

Thanks for you kind words. I'm just one of those ridiculous mothers who feels that education is everything (not money, cars, fancy homes, etc.). I put a great deal of care in raising my son to be an open minded, creative, bright, optimistic child..unfortunately - it's killing me!

I'm still depressed and cranky - but I'm also Irish - so when you say that nothing lasts indefinitely I agree..it could be worse! Thanks for being nice about it.

jar said...

The baths sound great, especially during this time of year. I guess the amount for tuition probably covers the rising cost of salarys to compensate for the rising cost to live up there? At least I would hope so. That is awfully steep. My one day per week class charges $70 per month and that is for an average of 12 hours a month of babysitting ( I mean preschool :-)

Von Krankipantzen said...

Sounds like a steam bath might be just the thing for cleaning out those post holiday toxins. Also the stress with that rising tuition. WOW! There is a steam bath here but I don't know which night isn't Gay Night. I think nowadays every night might be Gay Night. I'd hate to disappoint/repulse some poor guy expecting a little fun.