I must confess that I love finding new places for massages, manicures and facials run by Chinese immigrants. Not only are their prices CHEAP, but I've received much better services than I have at much more posh places such as Bliss, Equinox Spa and other top-rated salons. I can't link to the Web sites for these places because they don't have any but I'll fill you in on two of my favorite secret places.
Lotus Salon--This is located on West 8th Street and 6th Avenue across from the Barnes and Noble and above the Gray's Papaya hot dog stand. Aside from their $20 mani/pedi special, they give the best facial I've ever had. I have very sensitive skin and easily break out. I once left Bliss with cysts all over my face. When I leave Lotus, my skin is glowning and my blackheads are extracted. While you have to deal with the subtle aroma of hotdogs and lack of privacy, the final result is worth it. Ask for Mabel the owner and get the Salon Special facial for $65 which includes neck and shoulder massage.
Chinese Secret Massage--This is not the name of the place but it is located on Christopher Street between 6th and 7th Avenues down the block from the pet store. They have these little rooms sectioned off by curtains. The guys massaging runs into one another through the curtains and when they massage your feet they sit on a chair outside of the curtain. I get naked but always keep my underpants on. While this all sounds crazy, these guys are massage magicians. Go in and tell them your ailments and with some simple pressure techniques, they have stopped allergy attacks, cured sinus infections and cured blindess and all for the cost of about $50/hour. Rudy is my favorite.