Go to a nail salon in the city and try to request a tie-dye gel manicure. Or a Lisa Frank leopard-print nail art design with glitter topcoat. Good luck; nail art may be huge, but there’s only a handful of people who can whip up something like that without resorting to Minx wraps. Luckily, we found one! Her name is Fleury Rose, and she may be the coolest person you’ll ever trust with your tips. Based at Tomahawk Salon in Bushwick (the most eclectic salon ever — it doubles as a vintage store and is furnished with antiques and graffiti-style art), Rose gives full service manis, gel or regular polish, topped with original pop art designs. You can choose from one of her many templates —everything from a “Commes des Fuck Down” fashion-themed set to neon glitter swirls with 3D stars — or bring in your own inspiration and work out a personalized look. Or, like us, you can just tell her what you’re obsessed with (Glitter! Neon! Leopard!) and let the artist do her thang. We’ve never seen anyone work like she does, eschewing polish pens for acrylic paint and a tiny paintbrush on detail work, whipping up custom colors on the spot, and taking her time to ensure you get a lasting, worthwhile manicure. Her slogan says it all: “Fresh, Original, Bad-Ass Nails for the People.” Don’t let the “Bushwick” fool you, though. The girl did nails for Katie Gallagher, Imitation of Christ, and Charlotte Ronson during fall 2012 fashion week, plus editorials for W, Teen Vogue, Paper and Oyster magazines, among others. Basically, she’s NYC’s best nail artist that you don’t know about. So hipster chic! But really. Because get this: Her nail art runs $45 per hour, which is sometimes the cost of a regular Frenchie in Manhattan. Oh, and she does it a la carte too, at $5 per nail, if you just want to pop in for a quick bling.
Fleury is in-house at Tomahawk on Saturdays and Sundays only, so you’ll have to call a few weeks ahead (only there’s no fear of reservation rejection like at Momofuku). And this is no quickie Asian salon deal: Rose chats the whole time, sharing tips on the best products and how to DIY nail art at home. She will also extol to you the virtues of Bushwick; take her advice and explore the area —vintage shops and organic restaurants galore. If you want unique, art- or fashion- inspired nail art for half the price of other salons, and from someone who is legitimately awesome, look no further than (admittedly kinda far) Bushwick.