★ BEST 24-HOUR DUMBBELL SERVICES POLISH CULTURAL CENTER
169 Calyer St. (betw. Lorimer St. & Manhattan Ave.)
Most 24-hour gyms in New York fall into one of two categories: the clean, well-lit, namby-pamby juice bar variety used primarily for preening by rich girls and anonymous steam room sex by rich guys, or the dark, dingy storefront iron factories used primarily for pre-prison bulking up and selling steroids out of the supply closet. Luckily, the head-scratchingly named OTOM provides a happy medium. The clientele is as mixed as the neighborhood, with pale hipsters waiting patiently for massive Polish locals to finish with the machines. Nowhere else in the city can you learn new Eastern European cuss words simply by keeping your ears open when the crews of shaved-headed, swollen-armed, but unfailingly polite Polish guys are maxing out on the bench. The morning crowd is older, the evening crowd is younger, and the 2 a.m. crowd is no crowd at all. The staff is racially diverse, but the TVs always show sports and the sound system is always pumping club anthems. If that doesn’t keep you focused on the post-workout pierogi, nothing will.
★ BEST ALL-NIGHT PLUMBER TO LAY, ER, FIX SOME PIPE
A & A Plumbing
It’s 3 a.m. and a pipe bursts, waking you from the best mouth-drooling sex dream ever. What now? Well, you could wait and see if the flooding stops on its own, or you could talk to an operator at A & A Plumbing. She probably won’t talk dirty to you, but she does have the hook-up when it comes to finding a plumber in your area. Give her a few minutes to locate someone who can arrive ASAP. A & A Plumbing services all boroughs—well, their plumbing needs, anyway. And while they may not dispatch a Mike-Delfino-look-alike, they can certainly snake your pipes (nope, that’s not dirty talk either) so you can get back to that fantasy involving your neighbor and a jar of jam. Visits start at $95; time, parts and dirty talk all extra.
★ BEST BULLETIN BOARD FOR FUTONS AND USED FURNITURE
116th St. & Broadway
(in front of Ollies near Columbia)
Until this crazy city realizes that bus stops could use some cork and pushpins, they will endure as virtual retailers, serving their communities in a scotch-taped survival of the fittest. So how to unload or where to find that extra-large hand-painted Japanese porcelain vase with lid? We’re not saying the Columbia bus stop is the biggest bulletin board in the city, but size isn’t everything. As George Ross explains to the losing team on The Apprentice, it’s all about one thing: location, location, location! Columbia never fails to disappoint; there are housing sublets, dog walkers, bric-a-brac, rallies, orchestras, massages and a sprinkling of the requisite specialized and glamorous (like the Samurai fire-ring juggling class). And we’ll say it: Columbia students have money to burn, their mattresses are better and they’re transient, making their ads reliable and worth the fare uptown.
★ BEST EXTERMINATORS TO ANNIHILATE THE SCUM-SUCKING ROACHES THAT ARE POSING AS YOUR NEW ROOMMATES
21st Century Pest Elimination
1170 Broadway (betw. 27th & 28th Sts.)
I’m sitting on the sofa, calmly enjoying some brainless TV after another arduous day at the office when something dark darts across my peripheral vision. Shit! Those nasty little buggers. After repeatedly using the buildings’ free (and quite useless) exterminator service and smashing runaway roaches myself, there is the mother of all roaches scurrying across my floor—the three-inch water bug roach. That’s it. In between barfing and screaming at the sight of this monster, I hired 21st Century Pest Elimination. For $195, they came to my apartment the very next day, found the source of the problem and blissfully left me roach free in under an hour. Since those roaches are resilient little suckers, the company offers an initial three-month guarantee, so if at any point during that period you need their services again, it’s free of charge.
★ BEST GHETTO NAIL SALON FOR WHITE GIRLS WHO DON’T ACTUALLY WANT TO GO TO THE GHETTO
Rainbow Nails IV
4214 Broadway (betw. 42nd & 43rd Sts.)
Who can turn down a $6 manicure? (And guys, it’s only $7 for you.) Yes, Rainbow Nails is sketchy; we had second thoughts after we remembered our raging hangnails. But, hey, we have to take risks sometimes. Forget that whole Paula Abdul bacterial infection fiasco. We’ve never really understood the fine ghetto sport of nail art. Nevertheless, Rainbow is the place to abandon your fingernail virginity or just wallow in your sleazy habit. The prices almost make us feel bad. Do we make up the difference by leaving a big tip? Er, we’ll do that next time. True, we passed several identical-looking nail salons on our jaunt down Broadway, but none have a giant neon rainbow in the front window and can airbrush a couple embracing in front of a tropical sunset on your two-inch acrylics.
★ BEST LOCAL BAG COMPANY
Hayden-Harnett, two Brooklynites make the cutest duo with the hippest designs for handbags and more. Their website tells you what they’re into these days, and then when they add you to their family of customers, you’ll want to spend Thanksgiving with them. Their leather is buttermilk, and the colors ignite feelings of being in a bazaar, in a past life, while doing important work with your one true love.
★ BEST GREEN DRY CLEANERS FOR YOUR LAZY ASS
Green Apple Cleaners
244 5th Ave. (betw. 27th & 28th Sts.)
One of the best things about living in New York is the convenience of it all. Try to walk three blocks, we challenge you, without running smack dab into a dry cleaners. But with so many options, how do you choose? Imagine a dry cleaner that allows you to set up an online account 24 hours a day. Now imagine your clothes being picked up and delivered within 48 hours, with options like hand-wash and line-dry. Think of how good it would feel to have your clothes dry cleaned using CO2, an environmentally friendly method that leaves clothes cleaner, softer and smelling fresher than those done in the toxic chemicals used by your current dry cleaners. Starting October 1st, Green Apple Cleaners will make these dreams a reality, offering their services at neighborhood prices. Well, tickle us green; we can’t wait to get dirty.
★ BEST PLACE TO SCORE YOUR FIX FROM A HOTTIE
NYU may be he first choice among the stars when it comes to university schooling in the city, but for local weed heads, it looks like the institution is gaining a fairly significant reputation. Standing at just five feet tall, 18-year-old NYU student Julia Diaco was busted about a year ago for allegedly selling marijuana, cocaine, acid and hallucinogenic mushrooms to undercover cops. Operating from her dorm room at Hayden Hall, right on the side of the pleasant environs of Washington Square Park, Diaco did her impression of Scarface and is said to have racked up a huge clientele before being snitched on by one of the school’s resident geeks. After cutting a deal to avoid a possible 25-year jail term, Diaco decided to use her new found infamy to launch a rap career. On her new website (www.theJ-Dia.com) Diaco can be seen in a number of sexy poses showing off her non- hallucinogenic assets. The lesson here is, if you’re going to endeavor to become the drug queenpin of your local university, it pays to be nice to the geek crowd, even if you’re hot.
★ BEST DOGGIE DAYCARE/SPA FOR PAMPERED PIT BULLS
170 East 83 Street
In a true insanely wealthy society, our best friends are treated well, and why shouldn’t our loyal furry friends station their beastly derrieres in correctly proportioned recliners, in sofas free of last year’s lumps? That’s why Katie’s Kitty is an oasis every well-heeled dog and cat deserves. Face it, if our city is going to the dogs, we might as well offer them the synergist compliment they deserve; a little R&R after the hustle bustle of the streets, and excuuuse us, the escalating social anxieties of the dog run.
★ BEST NEWSSTAND
Union Square (at 16th St. & Union Square West)
Wandering drunk and stoned through Union Square at 3 a.m. can mean having to get a little creative to fulfill your munchie fix before heading back to your Brooklyn digs via the L. But scrounge no more, for Jewel News, the 24-hour newsstand located at 16th and Union Square West, is the answer to all of your hazy-eyed, salt-craving needs. Not only can you pick up the Vanity Fair with Suri on the cover, but the stand also offers Gatorade to hydrate that desert forming in your mouth, a variety of cigarettes to keep that nicotine flowing and condoms for that drunken hookup that you know you’ll regret in the morning. And just in case you want to get a little freaky with that special someone whose name you have already forgotten since you left the bar together, this gem of a newsstand also sells disposable cameras.
★ BEST LOCAL EYE CANDY WHEN YOU’VE RUN OUT OF PORN
Channel 7’s “Eyewitness News” has always been the go to broadcast for locals looking for a New York intensive report with high production value. Over the years the show gave us old wrinkled guys like Harry Reasoner and Bill Beutel back when news was all about “the voice of God” credibility. Then, as the city went through it’s David Dinkins phase, the show became more diverse, eventually leading to Roz “I don’t know why my eyes are bugging out all the time, but I’m excited!” Abrams. When it turned out that Abrams wasn’t the next Oprah they thought she would be, the station started the musical chairs all over again. Now in the age of celebrity obsession, where even “Charlie Rose” and “60 Minutes” regularly interview vapid movie stars, “Eyewitness News” obviously felt they had to step their game up … and boy did they ever. Liz Cho joined the team a couple of years ago, and since taking the anchor chair alongside Bill Ritter, she just seems to get hotter and hotter every day. Although we still don’t know exactly what the hell is going on with her hair, staring into those I-could-eat-you-alive-eyes every day at 6 p.m. is just the shot of eye candy needed after enduring the slubs of New York City all day.
★ BEST LIMO/RENTAL CAR SERVICE (TO STAY CLASSY)
M&V Limousines Ltd.
A person’s propensity to rent a limo is usually inversely proportional to his or her actual social status. Size is also a correlation: If you’re the type of person who believes that a stretch Hummer is the height of high living, you are probably a a bridge-and-tunnel troglodyte on the make. If, on the other hand, you’d rather ride in a vintage 1930 Pierce-Arrow limousine, you are probably a rich snob or at least in possession of extraordinary taste. Everyone in the world falls somewhere with this dynamic, and M&V Limos caters to lowlifes and snobs alike. The service offers classically cool Cadillacs and Packards, standard limos for howling prom goers and huge Party Buses that are probably covered with the semen of thousands of cheering strippers on their way to Atlantic City. M&V will take you to Shea or Yankee Stadium, Six Flags, or any other damn place in the whip of your choice. Even if you’re a dirtball, there is still a way to remain classy in Manhattan.
★ BEST PARTY PLANNER THAT WILL NEVER MAKE LINDSAY LOHAN JEALOUS
Feel like all you leave a party with is a hangover? Then book your next celebration with Indigo Experiences, which promises dynamic, enriching events—including private wine tastings at Café Gray, fashion shows with Bellinis at Barneys, after-hours Guggenheim Museum tours and art lessons (nudes included!). Choose from four event categories: arts, fashion, inner peace and personal and professional growth. Owner Holly Arnowitz arranges for experts—including clairvoyants, beauty stylists, artists and sommeliers—to teach new skills while helping revelers discover more about themselves and each other. (More of a loner? Ask about the one-on-one sessions.) Largely dependent on food and alcohol picks, costs start at $100 a head. OK, so you’re not going to score blackmail photos of your friends with strippers, but you might want to ask yourself why you want those in the first place.
★ BEST PLACE TO BUY A BRA THAT ACTUALLY FITS
2273 Broadway (betw. 81st & 82nd Sts.)
The soft pink dressing rooms full of scantily clad women trying on lingerie at Town Shop may sound like an adolescent boy’s fantasy, but it’s really every girl’s fantasy. One of a few in a rapidly dying breed, Town Shop offers trained specialists in the art of bra fitting at your disposal. Swept into a dressing room, the two of you can discuss your wildest fantasies (a strapless number for your double Ds) or deepest, darkest secret (a padded bra for your barely bloomed tah-tahs). Standing half-naked with a woman adjusting your bra straps may not sound like much fun, but being akin to swimsuit shopping, the biggest reward is finding something stylish and flattering that fits perfectly. Best of all, quick and friendly service is the only kind they know how. With a knowledgeable eye, their specialist can dispense a bra to you quicker than your lover can rip it off with his (or her) teeth.
★ BEST PLACE TO CUSTOMIZE YOUR RUBBER
Casey Rubber Stamps
322 E. 11th St. (betw. 1st & 2nd Aves.)
Keeping track of all of those people you are dating has never been easier; stamp your latest fling onto your calendar with a customized rubber made by John C. Casey’s Casey Rubber Stamps. It may not be the sort of rubber that keeps crabs away, but you can invest in a hip crab stamp for the same price as one of those other rubbers without the risk of the itch. If your social calendar isn’t filled, head down to Casey’s where you can check out the coolest in retro stamps and rub shoulders with the jolly owner himself. His hip personal vibe keeps the mundane Wal-Mart crowd away and caters to those eccentric artsy types. Hipsters are welcome, but generally are too busy at the local vintage shops and tattoo parlors to take the time to pick up a rubber. Ink and lubricant not included.
★ BEST PLACE TO GET CRACKED, LIT, NEEDLED AND CREAMED
Dr. Chris Koultukis
315 W. 57th St. Suite 308 (betw. 8th & 9th Aves.)
Most of us know that assembly line feeling: the old in-and-out in 15 minutes, a hefty crack and “NEXT!” But when your back is ailing, your neck goosed, your knees knocking, or worse—an organ is ornery—Dr. Chris Koultukis is the man to see. Dr. K (pronounced ko-took-kiss, or ‘ko! took his,’ or ‘yo: touckis’) can be located at
3 p.m. in the sundial that is Columbus Circle. His patients call him “The Wizard” because of his integrated healing techniques and his intuitive ability to read the blueprint of your body. Submit to a medley of acupuncture, Moxa Bustion (burning an herb on the tip of the needle, or directly onto your body), massage, alignment and Chinese herbs (mixed on the premises). He even makes his own creams and cosmetics in his kitchen back in Riverdale, grooving to the barges floating down the Hudson as extra-virgin sesame oils flown in from Istanbul mix with Chinese rosehips. It doesn’t get more emollient than this.
★ BEST PLACE TO GET SOME CHARISMA
“What’s your sign?” “Have we met before?” Give us a break. As open as we are to having a nice drink with an even nicer guy, most women put their foot down at the first sign of a dried up pick-up line that our fathers used back in ’76. Women want confidence, charisma and a dash of charm. For those men in need of a review (or a first lesson) in the art of seduction, Charisma Arts offers an intense three-day “Charm School Boot Camp.” With a comprehensive curriculum that includes conversational skills, body language and storytelling techniques, students, along with their coaches, head to bars, lounges and bookstores to develop these skills in the real world. The next time you see the love of your life alone at the bar sipping Amaretto Sour, take Charisma Arts’ advice and check the canned lines and the tired stories at the door.
★ BEST PLACE TO SEND GOOD-LOOKING DEATH TO YOUR SWEETHEART
Blue Water Flowers Inc.
256 Lafayette St. (betw. Prince & Spring Sts.)
We’re not suggesting a pow-wow with Morticia Adams but a conversation with Cupid might just be in order for some of the more jaded New Yorkers out there. The next time a little minx takes aim at your heart, do not second guess yourself. Instead, reach for your credit card and send flowers to your object of desire. Trust us, a bouquet from Blue Water will have your darling thanking you all night long. Truly amazing, these arrangements magically hold their color for what seems like an eternity and take forever to wilt. It is as if they subsist entirely on Miracle Grow or some other magical (genetically engineered?) potion. And just in case you were wondering, the best reason to send flowers is still for no reason at all.
★ BEST Aerobic striptease workout
239 W. 23rd St. (betw. 7th & 8th Aves.)
This place is designed for women with no professional stripper aspirations, just a sense of humor and a desire to learn. It’s a pole dancing class that’s all about empowerment and taking the sleaze out of strip tease at this growing empire—imported from Los Angeles (where all good Phys. Ed. trends are born). It is a winning combination of supreme candles, spa-like interiors, perfectly low lights, great music, no nudity and no mirrors! As one teacher said, “Everybody looks good on a pole.” Or as Confucius once said, “The woman who climbs up the pole is not the same woman who climbs down the pole.” Crunch for crunch, the workout rivals serious Pilates, and one intro class will leave you aspiring to reach the highest rung—level seven. Just think, one day that coveted black G-string with rhinestones will be yours.
★ BEST PLACE TO TAME THE UNRULY BARKING MACHINE
The Canine Ranch
452A Columbus Ave. (betw. W. 80th & 81st Sts.)
Let’s face it, if you are living in New York City, chances are that your humble abode is, well, pretty humble. So, after a hard day’s work to finance your small sanctuary, you want nothing more than to feel loved, get kisses, and, oh hell, even slobbered on. You need a puppy, but the problem is that from the moment Fido arrives, your pooch won’t shut up. No worries. The Canine Ranch is ready to educate you and your new pet on manners. Group classes are taught during six-week intervals, and private lessons are accommodated upon request. All different needs are catered to in this puppy friendly penthouse, including tricks and agility classes for advanced students. Also, to ensure successful mingling among peers, small dog socialization classes are offered for a nominal fee. Just be sure your dog’s shots are up to date; if not, this door is tougher than Cain.
★ Best High-End Bargain Shopper’s Row
The strip of Broadway bordering Soho and Little Italy (outlined by Houston St. to the north, Canal St. to the south, Crosby St. to the east and Mercer St. to the west) has quickly become a wild west street filled with every retailer brave enough to tackle the massive crowds that converge on the area every day. What some may have missed is the growth of the high-end bargain shopper shops inexorably sprouting up. You’ve got Daffy’s, Old Navy, H&M and now the king of the bunch making its grand entrance from Tokyo, Japan, Uniqlo. What all this means for places like Bloomingdales and Armani Exchange is unclear, but what is certain is that Soho has a new mall and nobody even noticed when it arrived.
★ Best way to keep from looking like k-fed
New York Image Consultant, Stylist Amanda Sanders
Life’s too short to look like a slob when you’re stepping out to McDonald’s with your baby mama. We know you think you look good, but some things are best left to professionals. Amanda Sanders, personal stylist with New York Image Consultant, will set you straight. From gentle prodding to physically hauling your wife-beaters and “dressy” do-rags to the curb, Sanders promises tough love for your image. She’s styled Gwyneth and Chris Rock, so a makeover to resemble Gary Busey is unlikely (K-Fed, we can only dream). Please, for the sake of the rest of us who have to look at your sorry ass, give her a call. Be warned that style doesn’t come cheap; Sanders’ rates start at $250 an hour. We’re too comfortable in our velour running suits and Payless deck shoes for all that, but you need this, man.