by Shelton Bumgarner
I don’t go to New York City very often. In fact, I go very rarely. I love the city dearly and one of the major problems for a broke-ass writer like me is finding a place to stay (should I feel like spending more than just the day.)
You see, getting there is cheap — I just take the ChinaTown bus overnight and wake up there.
It’s taken me a little bit of time, but I think I may have stumbled across what I’m going to do going forward. I used to live in South Korea and one of the staples of Korean life is the jjimjibang, or sauna. A Korean sauna is kind of like a YMCA if going to the YMCA was a central aspect of American life.
You have your male side and your female side and then you put your sauna issued jammies on and go to the common area. If you don’t have much — if any — luggage on you, then it’s pretty easy to spend $60 for an overnight stay at a jjimjibang and be on your way. You have a locker that fit a bookbag’s worth of clothes, so there’s that.
There are some downsides for the uninitiated — you do have to get naked with (same sex) strangers while you put your jammies on to go the common area, but at $60 a night in the middle of the city, that’s not bad. No sexual activity is permitted and, really, I can honestly say all the times I’ve been there — even late at night — the bare-ass section of it was almost completely devoid of any homoeroticism. Of course, if you’re, like, a twink, YMM.
The one I go to is K Town Sauna. It’s not perfect and it’s kind of small, but it gets the job done. It’s strategically located in NYC’s K Town, which is pretty cool. It closed at some point in the last year, only to re-open, so it might be worth your while to swing by or call to make absolutely sure it’s open.
Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. He is writing his first novel. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.