Manicures in Manhattan

WHY IS New York City the only place on earth in which a manicure – no, not the polish and shape that costs 35 quid at Nails Inc., a proper one – doesn't cost the same as a week's rent? Instead, it's just about a tenner... cheap enough to have your hands looking presentable ALWAYS (almost a requirement before they let you through customs). Pure digital heaven (and I don't meant that in a sexual sense, obviously).

My hands look 10 years younger after a Manhattan manicure (or just a Manhattan but the latter has more to do with the quality of my vision). No less than 5 people complimented my mani after I nipped down to my favourite super-secret mani salon in NY between meetings last week (no joke, they spoke right at the nails). Anyway, I had forgotten what sheer bliss it is to let a woman (wearing an improbable name tag... no way 20 of you all have first names (Western ones, natch) starting with the letter J) buff, nip, clip, push, rub, wash, shape, paint, paint and paint my nails some more. All for the price of two Starbucks runs. And in the same amount of time it would take me to do, say, a SINGLE NAIL on my own at home (I once timed how long it took me to do a passable at-home manicure... the length of a feature film).

Compared to the shoddy – to downright painful, indifferent and inept – nail treatment I've had elsewhere, the salons of New York are an anomaly in nailcare. And like many other things – hot dog vendors and Tinsley Mortimer – the best manicure in the US is something I've only been able to find in New York. Do you pay attention to your nails? If so, where have you had the best manicure of your life? Do share!