A piece of history: Blue Light Floatation in New York City

Even though I work at a float centre and get to float whenever I want, I still enjoy checking out other centres around the world. It’s great to connect with others on the same journey, learn from them, and also ease jetlag or travel fatigue at the same time (plus, nothing beats being the one chilling in the lounge for once).

While on vacation in New York City, I knew I had to check out Blue Light Floatation. I’d consider it one of the OGs of the scene. Sam Zeiger’s been running it for just over 30 years (since 1985) out of his home. It’s not uncommon for a float centre to start like that (as did we), but what’s different about Sam is that he never expanded to a commercial space, and does not intend to. This is what he believes keeps the Blue Light experience as genuine and personal as possible. He prefers to get to know his customers personally, why they float, and see how he can guide them along on their journey, which is hard to scale from a business perspective. 

Sam Zeiger - Blue Light FloatationSam’s been floating for decades; he’s seen float centres come and go, watched the industry go quiet and then experience a revival.

His loft home houses a single float room, a box within another custom light- and sound-proof box. It is nothing fancy – but it is certainly clean, considered, and welcoming in its own way. Sam makes sure to orientate first-timers thoroughly, even if it takes fifteen minutes, so that they feel comfortable and have the knowledge they need for a better experience. I’ll take that over bathrobes and a fancy shower anytime.

Blue Light is not a spa—if you arrive early, there’s no whirlpool bath or spigoted decanter with cucumber/sage water. There’s no micro-waffle bathrobe that you shimmy in and out of while you enjoy the ancillary amenities. Instead, you wait downstairs with the doorman on a bench and, if it’s the weekend, you can watch rich people who live in rock-climbing clothes file in and out with their breadbox-sized dogs.

The Awl

After showering and getting dressed post-float, I was pleasantly surprised to step into Sam’s living room.

In this post-float ‘lounge’, you’ll find a library of books on consciousness, meditation, and more.

We chatted about meditation, embodiment, and the ins and outs of running a float centre in current times.

It’s not for everyone to be in a stranger’s house like this. But if you can get on the same wavelength as Sam, it just might be one of your more memorable experiences. I’m glad I got to experience this piece of float history, and if you’re open to the unconventional, you should too. 

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