Faces of East Midtown

Like so many places across the country, the past several months have been challenging and unpredictable for our community. That’s why we wanted to do something special to spotlight the amazing people that make up our unique district.  

Faces Of East Midtown is photo and interview series aimed at celebrating the humanity of our neighborhood and providing a real, raw and honest look at the faces behind the locally-owned businesses that have gone through unimaginable changes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Lana Bargraser 

Allure Day Spa
139 East 55th Street

September 23, 2020
Photography by Ron Jautz, Jautz Photography


EMP: Tell us about your business or place of work. When did you originally open? Or start and what was your vision

Lana Bargraser: I opened the door at Allure Day Spa 28 years ago after three years of being in America. It was always my dream to have my own business and create a team of beauty professionals to provide clients with the best experience. 

EMP: Give us an overview of what things have been like for you and your staff during the Covid-19 lockdown. 

LB: We closed our doors beginning of March. Since we provide personal services and cannot work remotely, it was very difficult not knowing when will be able to come back to work. I was always in touch with the team to have information about how they are doing and their family. 


EMP: When did you reopen, and how did/does it feel to reopen your doors to the district? 

LB: We reopened in Phase 3 and all our employees and clients were happy to come back. Since we are a full-service spa and salon, we were able to gradually restart our spa and salon services. Most importantly we made sure our clients and employees were protected by following all CDC guidelines.  

EMP: After being shuttered for months, several more businesses are slowly starting to reopen in the district. What does that mean to you?  

LB: We are happy to see businesses reopening little by little near us. We hope it’s not going to take a long for New York to recover because New York is not New York without their people! 


EMP: What is your hope for the future of your industry in the city in the coming months? 

LB: We are going to grow; I have no doubt. We had so many new ideas and plans renovate our space, adding new amenities, and provide new services before COVID-19, we hope we'll be able to do all that in the future. 

EMP: Any other thoughts you want people to know as they venture out into the neighborhood?  

LB: We hope our neighbors and tourist come back to us and enjoy the best restaurants, great personal services, museums, and architecture. After all, that’s what New York is known for. 


See more of Face of East Midtown on Instagram!