Friday’s Under $40: Ways To Feel Better

Posted on: October 16th, 2020 at 5:03 am by

Photo: Sara Graham

In our Friday column, “Fridays Under $40,” Boogie writer Sara Graham again hits the streets to find cheap eats and affordable things to do during these weird times.

New York Magazine’s the Cut recently ran a funny-cuz-it’s true story about how our collective posture is getting worse by the day, due to myriad issues, among them: exercising less, working from home in non-ergonomic “desk” situations, and the general, non-stop stress of a global pandemic, recession, and climate change. And let’s throw in the election for good measure. If you haven’t ventured out for a massage since salons reopened and your shoulders feel like they’re creeping towards your ears, now may be the time.


I’m in this very predicament and now have chronic pain—related to teeth grinding while asleep, awake, really at any and all times—so I head to Vitality Spa in Chinatown. Don’t be put off by the flashy (and incorrect) signage outside; inside it’s an oasis of tranquility. Masks are mandatory and so are temperature checks, which is clearly stated at the door. I get my temperature taken and head to a private narrow room with a curtain to get a 30-minute back massage, which is undoubtedly deep tissue. When I leave, my masseuse offers me water. Hot tips: come with cash—there’s a $4 surcharge for using credit cards. The promotion they’re running right now: 30-minute back massage and 30-minute foot reflexology for $45, is a steal. Do it when you can go over $40.

Vitality Spa, 128 Baxter Street
Total: $28
Hours: 10 am-10:45 pm, daily


Photo: Sara Graham

My parasympathetic nervous system is clearly awake from my massage – the blood is flowing and I’m hungry. I walk a block over to Mulberry Street to get a slice. Manero advertises that they’re “the only slice in Little Italy,” and though that’s debatable, they’re definitely one of the only noteworthy slices in Little Italy.

Photo: Sara Graham

If you like a classic New York slice—doughy, cheesy, small puddles of grease, with a sweet pomodoro sauce, you’ll like Manero’s. Although their outpost is tiny and takeout only, they’ve been doing construction in the narrow space next door. A sign posted in the window says there was a hearing about their application for a liquor license in September. I peer in and see booths and hanging lamps in the dine-in space, which looks almost complete. I take a seat to enjoy the slice on their “streeterie,” which is devoid of atmosphere, unless you like construction zones and shuttered souvenir shops. Damn, that pizza is good though.

Manero’s Pizza, 113 Mulberry Street

Total: $3.27
Hours: 12am -12pm, daily
Total cost: $31.27

Costs recorded do not include tip. Tip generously. Wear a mask.

Recent Stories

Electeds Behind ‘Save Our Storefronts Act’ Tour LES Small Businesses

Since last spring, the coronavirus pandemic has laid waste to countless small businesses around the city, with many more barely treading water. Assemblymember Harvey Epstein and State Senator Brad Holyman are looking to change that. The two elected officials visited Lower East Side stores Wednesday in an effort to promote the Save Our Storefronts Act. […]

The Meatball Shop Sues Jersey Shore’s Snooki and Deena over Merch

Jersey Shore alums Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Deena Cortese are in hot sauce this week for a line of “Meatball”-related merch. The Meatball Shop filed a lawsuit against the duo, alleging trademark infringement, according to TMZ. The legal papers also claim that Polizzi and Cortese lifted the restaurant’s merchandise for use on their “Team Meatball” […]

Dr Smood Shutters LES Outpost After 3 Years

Three years later, the Dr Smood organic cafe on the Lower East Side is flatlined. Readers relayed that the neon signs hanging inside 181 East Houston Street were deposed yesterday, along with the writing on the windows. The light housings now sit discarded. When reached for comment, a spokesperson stated only that, “sadly [the cafe] […]

Stanton Street 99-Cent Pizzeria Robbed Before Thanksgiving

Another commercial robbery in Hell Square. Last week, just before Thanksgiving, the 99-cent pizzeria at 105 Stanton Street fell victim. Police say that two men busted through the front door and stole money from the cash register ($1,400) as well as an electronic bicycle (valued at $2,400). Both individuals were seen fleeing eastbound on Stanton Street […]

Running for Chinatown Amidst a Pandemic (Again)

For the second time since spring, one Chinatown native is literally stepping up to help the community. Leland Yu, the 28-year-old member of the Chinese Freemasons Athletic Club, returns to the pavement this Saturday for his 12-hour “Run for Chinatown.” The last time around, he clocked an astonishing 61.2 miles, and raised over $18,000. Yu […]