Well+Good NYC's Guide to Wellness Hot Spots
If you're looking to get your wellness on in New York City, then look no further than the founders of Well+Good NYC, Alexia Brue and Melisse Gelula. I talked to these wellness mavens about some of their favorite wellness spots in NYC, including beauty, brunch, spas, yoga, and more.
MBG: Let's start with coffee... Favorite place for coffee?
Alexia: Iris Café in Brooklyn Heights (on Columbia Place near Joralemon) uses Stumptown Coffee Roasters and they make the perfect iced latte.
Melisse: Café Regular du Nord on Berkeley in Park Slope for the Parisian immersion experience, and the awesome coffee. (Pictured below right.)
Favorite yoga studio?
Alexia: I try lots of different studios and teachers for Well+Good so it’s hard to be faithful to one. But time and again, I return to Kula Yoga Project, and not just because it’s five minutes from my apartment. I love that no matter when I can squeeze in a class, I know the instructor will be terrific.
Melisse: Ditto on trying lots of studios. I love Kula, too, but I live in Brooklyn, so I go tend to Bend & Bloom in Park Slope (amazing teachers, a handful also teach at Kula) regularly, and those on my train lines, like Virayoga, where Elena Brower teaches. I also go to Yoga Vida, in Union Square, a two or three times a week. I really like that the classes are just 65 minutes and cost $10.
Favorite post-yoga brunch?
Alexia: I have a toddler, so my post-yoga brunch is usually a smoothie at home. But when brunch is an option I love the Green Table in Chelsea Market. After the meal, I always take home a few of Mary Cleaver’s frozen mushroom pot pies. They’re the perfect thing to warm up when you don’t feel like cooking.
Melisse: Usually I go to ‘sNice, a vegan spot in Park Slope (there’s another one in the West Village). I think I might be addicted to their roasted broccoli and smoked tempeh wrap. And I feel healthy sitting in their mini-garden that’s not right up against the curb near the car exhaust.
Favorite place to buy produce?
Alexia: The Tribeca Farmer’s Market on Greenwich Street is close to home and is really excellent this year.
Melisse: Union Square green market, hands down.
Alexia: I love Sweet Lily on West Broadway because the interiors look like the Shabby Chic showroom and they use buckets for foot baths instead of the gnarly, bacteria-filled Jacuzzis. Also, they use non-toxic Zoya polish.
Melisse: I probably go to 20 different places year-round, but I really like natural-leaning Jin Soon (especially the West Village location) for the banquettes, so I can go with a friend, and they don’t mind when I bring my own polish. All the better to touch up any nicks.
Alexia: For me it’s more about favorite therapist than favorite spa. I love Cheeri Keeler who works out of her home and also makes house calls. She has an impressive range—she can give the most relaxing, soothing prenatal massage and she can also do super intense myofascial release work. (Cell: 917-509-5499; email@example.com)
Melisse: People ask me this question all the time. But it’s kind of like asking a dining critic what’s your favorite restaurant. And maybe you don’t like Thai cuisine! I love Thai massage (and lymphatic treatments) at the Mandarin Oriental, but that’s a splurge. My substitute: the Fusion massage at Exhale. (My favorite therapist is Brad Drummond, but he travels quite a bit.) I get a facial every month, and there are some serious skin-care pros in NYC: Oni Chaves at Ajune, Julia March, and Jillian Wright, for example.
Favorite place to buy beauty products?
Alexia: Melisse's closet! She has a closet in her apartment devoted to beauty products.
Melisse: The Apothecary at ABC Home is the far and away the best place in New York City to buy natural and organic skin-care products. The selection of indie, super-soulful brands is amazing—from in-the-know facialist lines like Tammy Fender and Arcona, to up-and-coming brands like Juara and A Perfume Organic, and deeply philosophical companies like Kahina Giving Beauty and Intelligent Nutrients, the original Aveda founder’s new-ish and super-clean range. My favorite online store is SpiritBeautyLounge.com, owned by Brooklynite Spirit Demerson, who scrutinizes labels like a green chemist before she’ll carry them.
Favorite wellness weekend getaway?
Alexia: I love the whole New Age summer camp vibe at Kripalu (pictured right). The programming’s incredible and after a few days of eating that food I feel like a superhero.
Melisse: You wouldn’t think it, given its reputation as seriously superficial, but I got a lot out of a recent wellness-focused trip to Miami Beach. I did a V02 test to measure my fitness level and set up my fitness goals at Canyon Ranch, which was surprisingly affordable (about $250), considering the expertise, and they have a pioneering spa cuisine menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Staying the night can be a budget-breaker. But there are deals. I love Miami’s light-and-spicy Mango Gang cuisine, how it’s easy to do yoga on the beach here with several studios, and that there’s a running path along the water, too.
Let's close with juice... Your favorite juice place?
Melisse & Alexia: At the moment we’re both obsessed with the juice bar at ABC Kitchen. We wouldn’t have pegged Jean-Georges as a smoothie maestro, but he’s totally raised the bar on juice bars.
For more on Alexia, Melisse and Well + Good NYC: