The staff at Mermaid Spa roasts granite rocks overnight to lend the Russian steam room an air of authenticity. And, in accordance with these traditional standards, they then dash water over the intensely heated rocks to create a natural steam. As the room gets misty, those relaxing inside of the sauna wield dried birch branches to self-administer a massage or tickle the wood-paneled walls just like their mother trees. All of this falls in line with Mermaid Spa’s owners’ vision when they first opened their Brooklyn bathhouse: bring the Russian banya to New York.
Also housed inside the spa are an extra-large jacuzzi, an ice-filled pool, and a Turkish steam room, where aromas of eucalyptus and mint intermingle with the warm mists. Pleasant scents also waft from the on-site Russian restaurant, where chefs ladle traditional goulash and dumplings onto plates or into the bindles of traveling hoboes.
Starting at two o'clock in the morning, trucks head out from Urban Organic's headquarters carrying boxes of organic, local produce to drop at doorsteps from the Bronx to Brooklyn and far-off lands such as Long Island and Connecticut. Each box holds a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables, such as apples, chard, arugula, and bananas, each certified organic by the USDA. Since the selection rotates weekly, an included newsletter introduces the produce to families with handy tips on storage, cooking, and conversation starters.
The handy subscription service visits each of its delivery zones once a week so urbanites have easy access to organic, locally grown meals. Families can also take advantage of lower price tags than those at local grocery stores or black markets, since Urban Organic buys in bulk from organic farmers' cooperatives and distributors.
Founded in 1914, the original New York City location of Sterling Optical doled out frames amid the Ford Model Ts and paperboys that swarmed the city's financial district. The original band of eyesight experts weathered years of economic depression by impressing customers with speedy, full-service vision care, later launching a second store near Washington, DC. Today, a century of steady franchise expansion has given rise to almost 200 store locations in 23 states. Most locations continue the tradition of offering one-stop optical services, giving customers access to exams and onsite labs that manufacture glasses in one hour. The spectacle provider has been named one of the nation's leading franchises by Entrepreneur magazine.
Licensed optician Alex Musayev and his team help patrons find the right pair from Community Optical’s large selection of brand-name frames and contact lenses. After an eye exam, customers browse more than 500 types of frames, or enough to outfit 31 spiders, including designs from Michael Kors, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, and Alain Mikli. The swift team can fill most prescriptions the next day.
Popeye made it look easy, but not everyone can eat whole cans of spinach every day. Maintaining a comprehensive intake of essential vitamins and minerals can be time intensive and difficult, but it is essential part of overall health and well-being. MaxVite's online trove of supplements, oils, natural foods, and cosmetics aid customers in fortifying their bodily health by replenishing deficient vitamins and dispensing foods that cater to modified eating styles. Vitamin and mineral capsules infuse customers with essential nutrients that boost immune systems, and gluten-free snacks provide alternatives for those with dietary concerns. MaxVite also stocks natural detergents, candles, containers, and dishwashing soap, reducing the amount of rashes contracted by sensitive pots and pans.
Fresh-cut flowers and potted plants line green wooden shelves outside of Back to Earth, an organic grocery store beckoning passersby to pick up a bouquet of sunflowers or shop for an array of environmentally conscious necessities. Inside, a cooler of organic produce containing fresh berries, asparagus, and tomatoes rests next to a wall of vitamins and health supplements by brands such as New Chapter. A wooden, tiered island in the middle of the store holds fresh fruits and vegetables, and can also double as dry land if the store's Kombucha supply spontaneously explodes. In addition to fresh produce, customers can also pick up popular packaged items such as Pirate's Booty chips, Amy's frozen entrées, Silk soymilk, and natural cosmetic items such as Giovanni-brand body wash.