Groupon Coupon: Uptown Living on a Downtown Budget

I love Groupon! The deals are amazing, covering categories as diverse as Food and Drink; Things to Do; Health and Fitness; Home Services; Goods; Travel and so much more. This morning, for instance, in ‘Beauty and Spas,’ Groupon has flagged twenty-two deals for me, all within easy walking distance. Were I willing to venture afield and leave the Upper East Side, there are a total of 2212 deals in that one category. But why leave my home-turf when the classy Warren Tricomi salon on Madison Avenue, known for topnotch stylists and colorists, is offering a shampoo, hair styling and blow-dry for $99 (a $250 value). Indeed, before leaving for Paris last year, I took advantage of that offer to have my hair styled by Angelique, a native born Parisian. Having spent many years trimming tresses at Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door on Fifth Avenue, she had recently packed her scissors and moved them to Warren Tricomi. Thanks to a Groupon coupon, I got a fabulous, fresh-'n'-flirty haircut from a French stylist at a fraction of what it would have cost me in Paris.

So what else is Groupon offering? In the same category, you could purchase one cc of Juvaderm Ultra for $389, an $825 value guaranteed to give you a lift, chase those marionette lines away. If that’s not your cup of tea, you might like the Royal Tea Service for 2 at the Bar/Lounge at the Five Star rated Pierre Hotel for $85, a 32% off value that comes highly recommended by 90% of the 491 customers who have bought this deal.  Or what about an eye exam plus a $260 credit toward frames and lenses from Sterling Optical, a $345 value for only $35. For men, Why Not Men’s Spa has a 60-minute hot stone massage, a $139 value, for $50.

Best of all, for those who love to travel, there'sa 7-day Italian Culinary Tour of old Abruzzi and the Adriatic, with deluxe accommodations, cooking lessons focused on peasant dishes, trips to olive mills and lunches in coastal towns on the ‘cerulean Adriatic Sea.’ A $3598 value for $1898, which comes to less than $300 a day.

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But if sampling local wines and lunching in seaside villages has my taste buds salivating, I’m fed-up with cooking. Nonetheless, behind that shiny green door looking as fresh as a basil leaf,  I suspect lies a first-rate culinary experience.

Two months ago, I saw an offer from the chic Gil Ferrer Salon: Live Dangerously with this Groupon. Reinvent yourself with highlights, a conditioning treatment and a blow-dry for $139, a $390 value. Checking with Yelp the consensus was that the salon gives the best haircuts and color in town. And from the salon's website, I learned that Gil is a master stylist with more than twenty-five years in the business, one who worked his magic from Paris to Barcelona to Casablanca and, then, on to New York. He'sdone it all--the fashion shoots, the catwalks, the society ladies and the celebs. Reassured I would be in good hands, I made an appointment. Heading down Madison, I stopped for coffee at busy St Ambroeus to fortify myself.

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And a few blocks further, while walking west on East 74th Street, there it is!

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Gil Ferrer Salon—discover what we can do for your hair.

 Before I discover what they can do for my hair, I discover a warm and welcoming salon—from the honey-colored Art Deco cabinets, sparkling mirrors and fresh-cut flowers to an attentive staff. One of whom brings me a cappuccino with a smiley face. And then over comes Rami, a master colorist, specializing in multi-dimensional highlights. He suggests I try single dimensional highlights as it will be easier to manage. After we talk color and cut for a bit—Let’s do it!—he asks if I’ve ever been to Bethlehem.  Do you mean Bethlehem in the West Bank? Yes, because that's where he was born, although his family, Palestinian Christians, left years ago, coming to America. The multinational staff at Gill Ferrer is a microcosm of New York, with nearly everyone having been born somewhere else.

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By the time Rami’s finished, my hair’s shades blonder, inches shorter. More bounce to the ounce.  Whatcha' think?  Classic movie star look?

But no  sooner am I thinking that I’ve found me a treasure, when I hear they're moving to 685 Madison Avenue, between 62nd and 63rd streets. Oh, no! Will the new place look the same? feel as intimate?

So, last week, when  I found myself walking past  ‘685' with a cadre of workers lugging tool boxes, coils of wire and tins of paint upstairs, I followed them to see what I could see. It was a work in progress.

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I thought they were moving in next Monday, I said to a lanky man, standing arms akimbo, taking in the activity. They are, he replied.

But  this will never be ready in time, I said, not even if they work the weekend. He grinned, saying it had better be ready, that he was the construction boss. Good luck!

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I’ll give them a few weeks to settle in before making an appointment. And now that you’ve seen the before pictures, I’ll be sure to send you an after.

Everyone needs a haircut, from time to time. So what about you? What’s the most important thing you look for when selecting a salon or a barbershop? is it the person? the location? the price? Or have you stayed with the same barber or hair stylist for years? Obviously, I'm one to move around, which thanks to Groupon, is an easy thing to do. If you have never used a Groupon coupon, never clicked on one of their deals, what are you waiting for? It’s simple—all you need do is download the app.

Now, if you would be so kind as to like BonitaBabs Writes and to share the news about some of my favorite places on the UES, I'd be most appreciative.

Hope to see you next Sunday when I’ll have breaking news on the downtown scene.