Los Angeles Times

In LA, spa days can stretch into night

LOS ANGELES - The landscape of the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, a concrete universe of slightly less than three square miles in Mid-City, is a bilingual-signed jigsaw of strip malls and squat high-rises, barbecue restaurants and porridge joints. It's about as far away from John Cheever's Westchester County, the setting for many of the writer's stories of mid-20th century East Coast suburban ennui, as his mannered cocktail parties are from L.A.'s soju-fueled karaoke bars. Unlike Cheevertown, L.A.'s Koreatown is an oddly soothing quadrant of the city if you open the right doors - a neighborhood filled not with angst but with a network of spas that cater to locals in need of a soak and a scrub, maybe a nap on a heated floor. And if you traverse Koreatown for palliative reasons, from strip-mall sauna to underground bathhouse, you'll find it possible to link up the neighborhood much like Neddy Merrill did in Cheever's masterwork of a story, "The Swimmer."

As Neddy swam from pool to pool, he navigated his disintegrating life, awash in chlorine and gin. The journey from spa to spa is instead one of restoration: a slow mineral cure. Steeped in barley tea instead of alcohol and pathos, a

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times5 min read
On Nevada's Electric Highway In A Tesla, A Wild West Ethos Versus A Techie Future
GOLDFIELD, Nev. - We were taking a smarty-pants car through honky-tonky country - Reno to Las Vegas. Our route: U.S. 95, Nevada's Electric Highway, a mostly two-lane road that has been peppered with charging stations to meet the growing demand of ele
Los Angeles Times4 min read
Bruins And Blues Share Many Qualities, Which Might Make Stanley Cup Final Epic
BOSTON - The Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues are similar enough in style and philosophy to be fraternal twins. They've adapted to the NHL's dramatic tilt toward youth and speed but haven't ignored the physical aspects of the game, instead blending
Los Angeles Times4 min readPolitics
Trump Attends A Sumo Match As Japan Leaves Worries About Tariffs And North Korea Behind
TOKYO - The two sumo wrestlers, 785 pounds of flesh between them, paused as the American president walked in from the corner of the ring waving, clapping and pointing to the crowd, who stood to applaud. This was the moment 11,500 spectators - and muc