New Kid on the Block: Gilded Ritual

In the former Papyrus space on Reade and Greenwich comes Gilded Ritual, which is just as it sounds: a gold-plated version of the mani-pedi. They are offering just manicures and pedicures and only what is called the Russian style — a 90-minute process that then lasts for four to six weeks.

Ian Austin has opened other skin care spas before — he has Cane + Austin on the Upper East Side — but this is his first nail shop and he has tricked it out with luxe decor (the shop is very pretty) and amenities. There are several private rooms for one or two people, special chairs that move your legs for you while you are getting a pedicure and, as required now by city law, a new ventilation system throughout. The basic cost of a manicure is $80.

There are salons that do this process in Sheepshead Bay, natch, but only one in Midtown and none at this scale. He considered doing facials as well, but decided to keep it simple and just do the one concept — and one that is more covid friendly.

The soft opening is this coming week and they will open officially on Oct. 19. In the meantime, his staff will be practicing. See them here working on a quail egg (raw!) and a latex glove blown up like a balloon.

Gilded Ritual
149 Reade | Greenwich and Hudson


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    The short answer, according to Malikova, is: yes and no. “It’s only dangerous in unprofessional hands,” she tells me over the phone. “This is a very specialized manicure and pedicure, and only professionals can do it because it requires meticulous application by a nail technician who’s received a vigorous education.” Interestingly, though, there aren’t many education options in the United States just yet. “The best schools are in Russia,” the founder says. “There are options in Los Angeles, however, they’re taught in Russian.”

    When seeking out a salon specializing in the Russian manicure, our advice is to inquire about how their staff has been trained. XYZ requires at least two years of experience, a certificate from a manicurist program, and training from a Russian manicure-focused school. When speaking about Los Angeles-based schools, Malikova directed me to ABC, a salon where all of her staff received their training in the Russian manicure technique, which is entirely separate from a manicurist license. Training in the art of the Russian manicure is understandably taken very seriously. “The way they train is on grapes and balloons,” she explains, implying that these delicate materials symbolize the nail matrix. “If you pop the balloon, you fail.”

    “We understand the risk of working with an electric drill, just like a surgeon understands the risk of working with a scalpel. In the right hands, a scalpel can do miracles, and in the wrong hands, a scalpel can do horrible things.”