Stories: Banya: banya-003

Sheltered from New York’s city streets, the banya, or bathhouse, is a place thriving with Eastern European culture and languages. The heated steam room can reach up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, and bunches of dried birch leaves, or veniks, are soaked in a tub of water and then used to hit the body in order to boost blood circulation. When a person feels sufficiently hot, he or she jumps into a cold pool or shower or is doused with a bucket of icy water. Some patrons enjoy vodka and cigarettes between bathing cycles.

Sheltered from New York’s city streets, the banya, or bathhouse, is a place thriving with Eastern European culture and languages.  

The heated steam room can reach up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, and bunches of dried birch leaves, or veniks, are soaked in a tub of water and then used to hit the body in order to boost blood circulation. When a person feels sufficiently hot, he or she jumps into a cold pool or shower or is doused with a bucket of icy water. Some patrons enjoy vodka and cigarettes between bathing cycles.