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"I didn't mean to be in Tribeca," nail expert Jin Soon Choi admitted. "It happened accidentally, but I'm loving it." She was sitting in the first chair in a long row of chairs against a marble white table with manicurists on one side and customers on the other during a preview event for the flagship location of her eponymous salon mini-chain, now open at 37 Walker Street, and it's her largest one to date. "I love my small stores because they're warm and inviting ... but with this one, I wanted to show something more modern and airy."
She had only intended to open an office here, but couldn't pass up on converting the former gallery into something that everyone could enjoy. Her husband, an architect who's designed her other salon locations, "wanted to reflect the gallery idea in this space — the nail polish is art, and everything should be a more muted tone."
The overall effect? A calm, quiet oasis in a burgeoning section of the neighborhood. "The heart of Tribeca is already developed, but this area is really being developed like crazy now, so we are very happy with the choice of location." That development includes cool-kid salon Blackstones just down the street.
The opening coincides with the launch of Choi's first summer nail polish collection, two shades that were inspired by her native Korean beauty rituals that turn Rose Balsam flower petals into a nail stain that lasted until your nails grew out. "Every summer, this was our ritual with the village girls. We got together and put the paste on, and in two to four hours you could get a really good stain. But me? I used plastic wrap overnight, and got stains here, too," she said, running one hand down the fingers of the other.
In polish form, the result is a light pink ("Blush") or a vibrant red ("Crush") that are a little bit sheer and still smell a bit like flowers a couple days after application. "You saw lots of sheer pink," on the runways last season, "but not like this. This is different." And don't worry — it comes off with regular nail polish remover.
Make an appointment to check out the salon for yourself before the Tribeca crowd gets back to town after the long weekend and hog the first-ever JinSoon photo booth that's nestled in the wall.