I knew I’d be the wrong person to cover the Banya phenomenon since my only readily available Russian references are my first drink (White Russian) and the Russian boxer in one of the “Rocky” films. Oh and my Russian-American homeboy from undergrad. Cool dude, but I still felt like I needed to enlist the help of my worldly, brilliant friend Shanna for this review.
So here’s Shanna’s take on Brooklyn Banya and its 10,000 sq. feet. of Russian Turkish awesomeness:
A Little Background
The focus of the banya is the sauna. Some banyas have moist heat and dry heat, but it’s not a banya without a sauna.
The heat can go up to 200 degrees…there’s a chance you’ll begin to molt like a snake. And that’s a good thing. I saw many women using exfoliating gloves outside of the banya to wash themselves thoroughly from head to toe.
You’ll want to take the banya in doses; thankfully there are cold showers and a cold dunking pool, which are so refreshing after the heat.
The banya is a social scene. In between trips to the saunas groups of friends or family lounge in the restaurant over traditional food and beer.
It really was an escape where time slowed down. I saw very few people on their phones and I didn’t even miss mine.
By the time we left, I felt more relaxed and serene than I had felt in a while. Plus my skin was scarily smooth and every one kept commenting on how I was glowing. I’m hooked.