I gave myself the goal of “taking it easy” last week. After getting a bit of a cold following the rage fest that was this year’s BEMF, I decided that R&R was exactly what I needed, and what better way to support that mission than with a trip to the spa? That said, I had to get my music kicks too, so “When in Robe” seemed like the perfect way to close out a low key weekend. It seemed like it, but after spending nearly 45 minutes hunting down my friend’s flip flops (which ended up on the feet of two completely different drunk people) and getting in a hot debate about the existence of God and aliens while standing outside in a soaking wet robe, I accepted the sad fact that relaxation is fleeting anyway.
Body by Brooklyn in Cobble Hill plays host to Live by Live Music’s monthly When in Robe spa party, which features live house DJs, a full bar and access to the facility’s wet lounge including a locker room, hot tub, steam room, Swedish Sauna, Russian Sauna and cold plunge pool. Your job is simple – show up with a bathing suit and flip flops and explore the space.
While the concept is fantastic, something always seems to be missing. The crowds have been sparse on both occasions that I’ve attended, and the clientele who do attend leave something to be desired. Guests range from “people who are having the worst time of their lives” (the girl sitting next to me in the Russian Sauna said loudly, “I’m assuming you don’t want to go in that cesspool of a hot tub. It’s hardly worth the risk.”) to the “shifty 22-year-old men who show up alone to take selfies in front of unassuming girls in bathing suits”. This party just doesn’t deliver that “take a load off” atmosphere that many of us associate with a trip to the spa. If you’re a chick, you’ll spend a lot of time dodging the eyes of awkward, fucked up dudes, and if you’re a dude, you’ll spend a lot of time concealing a boner.
Location and time are a definite downer, unless you live in Cobble Hill near the BQE, of course. The 20 minute trek from Dekalb Avenue on a Sunday night is daunting, especially in the rain. I found myself asking multiple times, “WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE, AND WHY DON’T THEY HAVE JOBS?” I thought this particularly of the group who showed up completely naked and got upset when they were asked to put their robes back on in the sauna. I genuinely hope that they are all middle school teachers, as it would help personify the educational dilemma facing our country today.
The thing that surprises me however, is that the party attracts huge names. This time Holy Ship veteran and yogi DJ Gina Turner headed the bill. Rumor has it that her husband Laidback Luke even showed up to play a few tracks. I somehow managed to miss this, perhaps between detoxing in the 180 degree Russian sauna and retoxing at the reasonably priced bar. I assumed she would go on around 1:30 AM, but alas, she showed up in the middle of the evening, and while I could hear the dance music pulsing perfectly from next door, I was far too engulfed in people watching to make any moves. The music is always good, however the minuscule crowds and gawking eyes make dancing seem even less desirable than watching an unattractive couple make out in a hot tub.
This party has potential, but I think a new space is necessary if organizers want to draw the crowds that can sustain this type of event. I could see When in Robe doing very well during the early evening in an area like Williamsburg. As a post brunch party, it could be brilliant! It makes more sense as the first stop before a night out at Verboten or Output, rather than a late night destination. The ticket price is right at $25, but once inside, there’s just not enough excitement to keep you there for multiple hours. Plus, the second that people start hot boxing the steam room, the concept of relaxation goes flying out the door faster than the girl who was afraid she’d contract HPV from sitting in the Swedish sauna.