I have said this before, but I love having visitors. It can be stressful because I always want my guests to have the best time and the best possible NYC experience they can have. However, through the pressure of trying to find something to do to entertain them I end up finding things to do that I would have never done otherwise.
This was true once again when Mariah came this past week. Mariah has visited me a few other times over the past couple of years, so I had already exhausted all my usual "points of interest" where we usually take our visitors. As I searched the internet days prior it seemed that "nothing" was going on and nothing seemed fun or interesting. I was beginning to feel a bit defeated. Sometimes living in a city where there are so many options makes it a bit difficult to decide or find anything to do (as strange as that might seem).
Finally it just hit me. When my sister was here a couple of months ago, we were walking through Chinatown and we saw all these shops that said "foot rubs." I am ALWAYS up for a foot rub and was intrigued by the idea. So of course I went to my favorite website, yelp.com, to find the best foot rub spot in china town. And just like that the perfect day was born.
I read a lot of reviews and found the most favored and popular place to receive this type of service. Next I found a very popular Chinese ice cream store that sold unique flavors of ice cream, and also the most popular cheap Chinese restaurant in the area--all with a few block of each other. We were going to have a Chinatown outing!
I haven't spent much time in Chinatown because I always viewed it as dirty and over crowded, so i didn't have very high expectations for what the day would hold. I thought it would be unique New York City experience, but I thought that is where it would end. However, to my great surprise, it was awesome!
As we entered our chosen foot rub destination, Foot Heaven, I was immediately surprised by the cleanliness of the building, considering it was Chinatown. As soon as we set foot in the doors we were approached by whom yelp reviewers call "The Massage Nazi" asking us "What do you want?", "How long?", then "How many?" (asking if Mariah and I both wanted the same service). Immediately, without any other words spoken, we were lead to a dimly lit private room with two leather "lazy boy" chairs. I couldn't believe it. This is not what I was expecting for a Chinatown service. When I have seen these these types of stores in the past there is no privacy and the ambiance is never taken into consideration.
From there "The Massage Nazi" grabbed two Chinese gentlemen who would be rubbing our feet for the next HOUR! They had two foot basins at the foot of the chairs that contained some type of muddy solution where they cleaned our feet. Then, within just a few minutes of entering the store, our feet were being rubbed. They massaged our calves and out feet, as well as performed reflexology.
"Reflexology, zone therapy, is an alternative medicine involving the physical act of applying pressure to the feet, hands, or ears with specific thumb, finger, and hand. It is based on what reflexologists claim to be a system of zones and reflex areas that they say reflect an image of the body on the feet and hands, with the premise that such work effects a physical change to the body."
I am total believer in all of this especially after our experience there. Occasionally, Mariah's "foot rubber" would occasionally ask "Hurt?" where Mariah would confirm. He then would tell Mariah the corresponding body part that was a little tense. For instance, he said Mariah's shoulders and back were extremely tight because of where it hurt her when he pressed that area of her foot. How cool is that!?
During our time there I thought: "So this is what Heaven is like", "This is why I love living in New York City", "This is one of the coolest things I have ever done", and "I am bringing everyone I know here." I would also laugh periodically when I would hear people getting "slapped" throughout the facility. Chinese massage is very different than American massage. One of the differences is that they do this slapping technique that actually feels really good! When they first did it to Mariah, I was a little leery of how that could help or in any way feel good, but as soon as they did it to me I was a believer and was super impressed with how they just hit the right points and in the right way.
After spending 30 minutes on each leg/foot our massage was done. The Chinese men were so polite and helpful and even offered us waters as we left. I left feeling like that was the best $40 I had ever spent!
Next, we headed around the corner to the very popular Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. I have been here once before years ago when our friends Chris and Annie came to visit us while Pat was doing his internship here. It's actually is a tourist spot, but for good reason. They have very unique and delicious flavors of ice cream for a decent price of $4 for two scoops on a cone. It couldn't have hit the spot more after our hour long foot rubs.
Mariah and I had such a great day in Chinatown of all places! Thanks Mariah for coming and forcing me to get outside my comfort zone!