By Melissa Limberg
New York is a city that lends power to those who inhabit it, and we all know that with great power comes great responsibility. Responsibility that entails keeping it’s residents neatly groomed and well manicured. The women (and men) of this city have been spoiled insofar as the possibilities are endless as far as nail care is concerned. You can get an $8 manicure on any block or a pedicure for $20 – but not all nail salons are created equal. I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of salons in my time as a Big Apple resident.
Though I am an advocate of living in your neighborhood and enjoying all that your “local” businesses have to offer, there is one nail salon that can be surpassed by none. J’Aime Nails in Astoria is THE BOMB. $30 gets you a manicure and pedicure that makes you so happy you want to slap your own mother. That’s how good it is.
“Astoria?” you may ask… and I say, “Yes! Astoria! Go get your Greek on, my friends!” You can take the N or the Q train to the 30th Av stop and it lets you off basically at the front door. What more could you want? You walk in, and it’s definitely an Astoria salon, decorated like the Parthenon basically. So, it’s almost like you took a trip to Greece! Not really. Anyway. The managers know what they’re doing, the facilities are clean, and each nail technician does her job flawlessly. Here’s a warning though – if you want a quick nail service this is not the place for you. You’re going to be there for a good hour and a half to have a mani/pedi combo. But, at a place where every pedicure chair is a massaging chair, I’m not trying to run out the door. I’m down for the relaxation. Are you concerned about cleanliness? The tubs for your feet are cleaned in front of you so that you know you’re not dipping your toes into some horrifying germ filled bath.
Each pedicure service includes a hydrating leg mask (with cucumbers in the summer), a leg massage (with your choice of oil, Shea butter, or lotion) and a full buffing of your dear barking dogs. (Get it? That means feet.) I will be the first to admit that I know it’s technically illegal to use razors on your feet at nail salons, but they give you the option to also use a razor if you’re really calloused. New York women are not modest to admit that after logging hundreds of blocks in a week, sometimes you just gotta raze it off. I’ve regained the confidence to show other humans my feet after the full work-up at J’Aime Nails.
The manicure is everything you’d need – a soak, a file, cuticle maintenance, and hydration. They top it off with an arm and shoulder massage. They also offer Shellac or acrylic if you’re into that sort of thing – but I kind of hope no one reading this is still wearing acrylic nails. (Free advice, ladies, Shellac needs to be done few and far between otherwise your precious nails will grow brittle! Use sparingly.)
Basically, from start to finish the service is worth more than the $30 you pay. The technicians aren’t overly chatty, but they’re efficient and pleasant. Most of them are not native English speakers so they’ll engage in conversation with one another from time to time in their native tongues, but it’s never been intimidating and I’ve never feared that they’re making fun of me (which is not true for other places I’ve been). This is one salon that I will continue to visit time and time again. The trip to Astoria only takes 15 minutes from 59th and Lex, so there are no excuses.