A peculiar day to write about “The Roof That Warms You Up,” when it’s 60-something degrees outside, the crocus are popping up and the blossoms are promising to bust out into their spring glory. But a promise is a promise, so no matter how unseasonable this is, it’s time for me to tell you about Spa Castle.
Post the December 26 record-breaking blizzard, when the streets out in Queens were still piled high with snow, Kyla drove Katina and me out to Spa Castle, a 5 story, 100K square foot Korean spa in the shadow of the Whitestone Bridge. We planned on a fun girls’ day out. We hoped to get a massage or a body scrub treatment and to spend some time sweating in the various saunas, then come home feeling relaxed as an overcooked noodle. But that Monday was a legal holiday and we were not the only ones with this idea. Spa Castle was over-run with people, including kids of all ages who were on school holiday or whose nanny’s had taken the long holiday weekend. The treatments were all sold out. The saunas had wall-to-wall people filling them. But the pool wasn’t horribly busy. That’s because it was outside, on the 4th floor roof, where it was below freezing with snow still on the ground!
The brochure promised a heated pool and a jacuzzi, we were there with not much else available to us, so we took off our matching pink uniforms issued to all women upon arrival (men get blue uniforms), revealing our bathing suits underneath, and ran like mad outside through the cold into the rooftop pool. It was warm compared to an average pool and certainly compared to the air temperature, but I’m from Southern California and was still in shock from running through the snow in my bikini. After a few minutes, I LOOKED UP and noticed steam coming up from a corner of the roof – a spa! I braved the cold again, scooted over on my tippytoes, and even though it was crowded with fellow patrons, I found a spot in the spa – ahhhhhh, warm at last.
On the walk back to the car, Kyla summed it all up: “That was like going to a spa on the subway.”
In Spa Castle’s defense, during a weekday when it’s quiet and the kids are in school, it’s probably a great, albeit campy, way to spend an afternoon. But for now, I think a day pass to Chelsea Piers is probably a better bet.
Spring is springing so next time we’ll talk about the other commercial roof farm, or maybe the surprise green roof at a baseball stadium or the first Meet-Up of 2011 of the New York City Roofgardeners which happens in an hour. This time, no promises, except that I’ll be back with more New York City roof happenings soon!