Sunday, May 11, 2008

New Series: "Now Don't Go telling Your Manhattan Friends!"

Hi Folks!
Now you know the Pigeon loves to turn you all on to some of the great experiences that our great borough has to offer. Until now, I've done so without condition but there are some things that must be kept under hat. Otherwise these borough jewels will be ruined by masses of people who just have to go to (fill in great Brooklyn experience) so that they can say they went to (repeat great Brooklyn experience). **Think DiFara's here (...which I think is just, well, ...'meh compared to a lot of true Brooklyn Pizza, but that's another post.)

Anyway, I've come up with a plan to prevent such problems. Please note that this entry will be a first in a series in which I have entitled "Now Don't Go Telling Your Manhattan Friends!" As Brooklynites it is your duty to protect the our Borough gems from being over-run by tourists from the other side of the river. (I'm doing my best to drum up a dogmatic bravado here.) In fact, I have decided that I will refer to daytrippers from Manhattan as "the Bridge & Tunnel crew." ;-) To be clear, I am a true Brooklynite and I am therefore NOT Manhattnocentric. I expect the same from my readers! (How am I doing with the dictator tone? I'm really working on these skills nowadays and I welcome critique from anyone with tyranny experience.) Violators of this order shall be punished to the full extent of authentic Brooklyn mores which includes the revoking of your Kings County passport - among other things. (In other words, I'm from Brooklyn. I know people!) So now that I have made clear the tenets of this series, I present the following:

Rave: Royal Palace - Royal Baths
614 Sheepshead Bay Road,
Brooklyn NY 11224
Phone:877 819 2284 Check the website out. Great pics and full desciption.
Hours: Mon-Fri 5pm-11pm, Sat-Sun 9am-11pm.
Admission: Adults $40, Children $25
Venik treatment / Platza: $40
1 hour massage: $110

So what is a overtired, overstressed, premenstrual, perimenopausal, single mom of a 6.5 year old supposed to do on Mother's Day? Go out to eat? Hells-to-the-NO! As a former waitress I know that it is the last day of the year that I want to be in any restaurant! No, no, NO! Not this mama! My spawn and I did it up right and went to Brooklyn's newest, swankiest Russian Banya. You've got to hand it to the Russians. They know how to treat themselves right!

Royal palace features six different steam rooms: Russian, Finnish, Turkish and Roman as well as the much needed cold plunge. The main bath hall features a huge pool, an alcoved hot tub, showers and cafe tables from where you can order a variety of Russian delicies. There will eventually be a full gym in the facility. There is a well-utilized beer bar and eight private rooms with separate steam rooms for 2-12 people. A full service restaurant graces the upper level of the facility.

Apparently, Royal Palace Bath just opened a few months ago. It is the biggest Russian Banya in New York, and possibly in the US. Check it out and while you're there you might want to indulge in a Russian venik/platza treatment which involves beating the skin with a bundle of birch leaves. It is said to improve circulation and increase metabolism. For more info visit: here.

In general, Banyas are very family friendly places. My daughter loved it but it is not overrun with wild kids. It seems that extended families gather at the poolside tables, enjoy servings of herbal tea, beer, dried fish. Family members slip off to relax in the hot tub, steam room, sauna or whatever and return to the table for another beer. The kids were well supervised but able to enjoy the facilities as they wished. For those of you who are totally kidphobic, you might want to visit in the evening.

Royal Palace is a bit pricier than other Banyas but it's a nice treat on a special day. It wasn't very crowded during our visit but that may have been because it was Mother's Day and the regular customers where involved in obligitory brunches with Mom.

It was a great day for us and you can enjoy a relaxing day at the Banya as well. Just remember; Don't go telling your Manhattan friends!
The Pigeon


Anonymous said...


This banya is not on sheepshead bay road, it is on W8 and is in Brighton Beach.

Keep it straight shiksa.

Flatbush Pigeon said...

Au contraire, mon anonymous Frere! Although the address is confusing, this small stretch of street between W 6th & W 8th is known also as Sheepshead Bay Road. (I know, it doesn't make a lot of sense.) See the banya's website for verification:

I didn't mention the name of the neighborhood, but since you've made the claim that it is in Brighton Beach, you should know that this address is technically in Coney Island. Brighton Beach ends west of Ocean Pkwy.

Also, Ms./Mr. Anonymous. Flatbush Pigeon does not appreciate derogatory ethnic slurs, no matter how commonly used. So save that "shiksa" crap for blogs that tolerate such offensives. Is that straight enough for ya?

Anonymous said...

ok pigeon
you have outdone yourself, I love the new series Now dont got telling your Manhattan friends.
But i would like to add don't tell any of your friends if they are Manhattanhites just using Brooklyn as a crash pad!!! you know who you are!!! The folks that dont really care to know true brooklyn they just live here and make it more crowded w/ their baby strollers and dogs, and $8 gourmet hero sandwiches
ok sorry enough ranting
great job

Brooklynista said...

Pigeon - I have to say I've never heard the term "shiksa" used outside of a Philip Roth novel until now (and I'm Jewish.)

More to the point - thanks for posting about something truly different from what everyone else is posting about! The banya sounds tres inviting.

PS - I'm with ya on DiFara's...they must be putting some kind of mind-control-oregano in those's like a legion of pizza-zombies...reminds me of the old SNL sketch, fake ad for a hypnotist's broadway show...every person who saw it, as well as every newspaper review, stated, exactly "I loved it. It was much better than Cats. I'm going to see it again and again." SPOOOKY.

The Pigeon Project said...

"They must be putting some kind of mind-control-oregano in those pies."

Dear Brooklynista,
I must say that the above statement is about as intriguingly blog-worthy as it gets. "Mind control oregano" hmm. That just might explain it. (Come to think of it, "Dom" from Difara's seems to have the same kind of appeal to some as "Mango" - also of SNL fame.) I think that you should do an investigative report based on this theory for your blog. I mean, I would take this assignment on but as you know as commandant of the Brooklyn Inquisition, I already have my hands full. Thanks for your comment.

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