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Tuesday
May082012

Astor Place Hairstylists

The other week, my pals over at The Half Empty Glass put up a post about a Kickstarter project that’s a documentary of an old school barber shop in Manhattan called Astor Place Hairstylists, a family run business in the city since 1947. The documentary is being made by filmmaker, Karen Gehres, check out the clip below.

Karen originally set a goal of five thousand dollars and she met that, so the project is going to be funded tomorrow. Her new goal is ten thousand bucks and if you liked the clip, maybe you’ll want to contribute to help this documentary see the light of day. The deadline for the project is tomorrow morning, so stop by and cough up a few bucks if you can.

I had a bad experience with a barber a couple weeks ago, and after seeing Karen’s video, I thought I’d give Astor Place Hairstylists a shot and see if they’d let me blog about getting a haircut there, let’s go see!

And here we are at the legendary barber shop on Astor Place, let's go down and take a look.

Through the doors...

And there's the front desk. They speak a little english, so I think we're in luck here.

Here's John and Fifi at the front desk and they said I was more than welcome to take a tour and some photos before my haircut. It's very friendly in here, I like it already!

As you can see, this is one large old school barber shop.

Every barber customizes their own hair cutting station. This one reminds of the line in the Beatles song, Penny Lane: Penny Lane there is a barber showing photographs, of every head he's had the pleasure to have known.

There's lots of barbers on duty in here, walk-ins are welcome and there's never a long wait to get your hair cut.

A little off the top, here's someone getting a trim.

Purple mane, purple mane!

Some tools of the trade hanging around the shop.

Here's a two caricatures of a couple of the barbers and some other pictures on the wall.

And speaking of pictures, there's a whole wall dedicated to celebrities who have gotten their locks sheared in here. Let's take a look.

Kevin Bacon in the house, six degrees of sep-hair-ation. Oof, sorry about that!

Comedian and actor Chris Rock poses for the Astor Hair camera.

John Malkovic went the full route and had it all taken off at Astor Hair.

Five in one: LL Cool J, Susan Sarandon, Macauly Culkin, Mila Kunis and Spike Lee, all are regulars at Astor Hair.

The barber shop is also known for specialty cuts that include getting the logo of your favorite sports team cut out of your locks on your noggin'.

Okay, it's time for me to get sheared. Here's my stylist, Mercedes, a very pretty and friendly woman who welcomed me and was happy to have her photo taken.

Here's her name plate on her mirror and an accidental obligatory mirror shot of myself and Mercedes.

Mercedes took a shot of me and my unruly locks, time to get down to shear business.

Here's a mirror shot of Mercedes in action, a great barber and we had a nice conversation as she trimmed my locks.

Check it out, a nice summer haircut by Mercedes!

She also took a shot from the back. Wow, lots of gray there, can you say, Grecian Formula? I knew that you could!

And there's candy at the register, just like the old days!

And on the way out is a poster for Karen's documentary, don't forget to stop by and contribute if you can, after spending a day in here, I guarantee this will be one great documentary on an old-school, family-owned barber shop.

Astor Place Hairstylists
2 Astor Pl. (Near Broadway)
212-475-9854

Okay, I’m off looking for a job tomorrow and Thursday, but check back in for the weekly happy hour on Friday and there’s going to be a Chillmaster post on Saturday, so stay tuned!

Further Reading: EV Grieve, Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York and New York Magazine.

Gonna tell your momma, you better do what she said,
Get to that barbershop and get that hair cut off your head.

Surprise link, click on it...I dare you!

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Bonus Link For Mykola Mick Dementiuk's Latest Novel!

There's an excerpt for TWM commenter Mykola Mick Dementiuk's latest novel, "Times Square Queer," at the Gay/Lesbian Fiction Excerpts blog, check it out here: Times Square Queer excerpt.

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Bonus Barber Art From Jaws!

Jaws the Cabbie sent in this piece of hair-raising art to go along with today's barber post. Thanks, Jaws!


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Reader Comments (30)

John and Fifi at the front desk. John looks happy. Fifi looks unhappy.

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

cool old school barber shop! that clip from karen's documentary was great, glad to see the shop surviving after all these years! great post!

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D.

Brings back memories! Back when I used to wear my hair short in the 90s and early 00's, I was a regular there. You could sit down and just say "gimme a #2", which isn't as gross as it sounds (#2 setting on the clippers). Cheap, quick and reliable.

Do they still have a sign that says if any barber at another shop claims to be "from Astor Hair" they are either lying or were fired for being a crappy haircutter?

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSpike

@GENE: Fifi was happy and friendly, I just don't think he likes to smile for photos, some people are that way. As soon as I shot the photo he was smiling again.

@Bobby D: It's like walking into old New York when you go in there, a great place! Glad you liked the post!

@Spike: I didn't get the #2, but it's still cheap, quick and reliable. Lots of barbers on duty, so you can just walk in and get your hair cut without waiting. I didn't see that sign, but I'll look for it next time, too funny!

May 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

In all the years I've lived on the Lower East Side I think I only had two haircuts there. Wasn't my kind of place, oh well...
Thanks a hell of a lot for putting my new work up "Times Square Queer," sure do appreciate it ;)

What a big shop,,,,kinda like a "Six flags over a barber shop", almost a tourist attraction, and I say this in a loving way, maybe because I am fond of barber shops as my brother owns one down near San Diego,,,so here's my shameless plug for him,,,http://www.cardiffbarbers.com/

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAl

The documentary video's green start arrow's placement is a bit unfortunate.

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercsp

My wife asks me, "why do you keep going to have your haircut if you don't have any hair?" So I ask her, "How come you keep making beauty appointments?"

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDon Rickles

I've been folically challenged since I was in my twenties, and I've gotten to the point where it's in my best interest to just shave it all off myself and then whip out a jar of Turtle wax. Figure I can always get a job walking in circles in front of a spotlight at the airport and act as a beacon for all the incoming flights...( check your e-mail, I've got something for you).

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJaws the Cabbie

Marty, Great seeing you yesterday. Brought back the old day's of going to Antarctica & playing strip poker with the work girl's .
I was always very scared to go into Astor Place Hair. I thought they would buzz off my long hair especially in the 90's when it was very long. Electric Clippers scare the shit out of me.
I go to Hair Mates because I love a cute Japanese girl cutting my hair & giving me a nice head & shoulder massage afterwords.

@Mykola Mick Dementiuk: Even though you only went twice, glad you got to spend some time in there. Happy to put up a link to your fine book, I hope people check it out!

@Al: You'd like this place, a real slice of old school Noo Yawk! If they served booze it would be perfect! Just checked out the ad for your brothers shop, is he Emilio? If I'm ever in the area, I'll definitely stop in for a haircut, thanks for the link!

@csp: Ha ha ha! True, I didn't notice that!

@Don Rickles: Rimshot!

@Jaws: I may have to resort to that beacon job too! I'll check my email soon!

@Danny the freelancer: Great to see you too! I'll never forget that night at Antartica, although the end of the night is a little fuzzy! Too funny you were scared to go in there! I'll have to check out Hair Mates, the cute Japanese girl with a hair cut and massage sounds like a good deal!

May 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

@Danny: I remember that game. You know, you were ruining a lot of hard work cheating A. and I were doing by continually losing.

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercsp

My brother is Emilio,,,just like the restaurant you went to the other day. His barber shop is more like a record store because of all the albums and pictures of rock stars on the walls. Plus, he plays lots of music, his customers go in just to hang out on the couch and listen to music.

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAl

@AL: I used to live in Cardiff-by-the-Sea for a little bit ! ... I lived in S. Cal for 4 1/2 years and was everywhere from Hollywood to San Diego .... mostly Oceanside was my hub/base. I like the Oceanside, Carlsbad, CBTS, Del Mar areas the best. Left there 19 years ago - and never have been back :(

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

@Al: Emilio looks like a good guy and that sounds like a cool barbershop! If you have any photos send them and I'll post them!

May 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

What, no 'TWM' carved into the back of your head?

Yay, purple hair!!

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGoggla

@Goggla: HA HA HA! TWM would've been GREAT!

Any place that's good enough for Susan Sarandon is good enough for me.

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBiff

@Gene: Cardiff by the Sea is beautiful and the barber shop is right across the street from the Pacific Ocean. My brother loves it there,,,the small shopping center where his shop is has the number one donut store in the area, VG donuts, plus his shop is directly next door to Duke's Office, a great dive bar which he put a barbers pole in and turns it on when its the customers turn for a haircut,,,then they just stagger next door for a trim,,,lol

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAl

I'm not one to comment much, but love this blog and just spit chicken noodle soup all over my keyboard after reading the "six degress of sep-hair-ation." LOL! Where should I send the bill for a new keyboard? Can't wait for that doc to come out!

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMakin Bacon

@Goggla: Ha ha ha! I should've done that! But on second thought, I don't know if it would help get me a job! And I thought of you when I saw that purple hair!

@Biff: "Any place that's good enough for Susan Sarandon is good enough for me." That's what Tim Robbins said, although he's probably not saying it so much these days!

@Al: Cardiff by the Sea sounds great! If and when I get gainful employment, I'd love to take a trip there!

@Makin Bacon: Glad you liked that horrible pun! I'm a sucker for them too! And feel free to send me the bill, but don't expect payment until I get a job.

May 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Nice haircut Marty, very nice. Don't dye it, it never quite looks right.

Astor Place, I used to be a regular there back in the 80's. The bad, obvious pun was mean people calling it "Disaster Place".

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaveW

What a fabulous barber shop. And you look FANTASTIC! Awesome haircut.

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermeleah rebeccah

@DaveW: I was just kidding about the dye job, I don't mind the gray hair, after all, what can you do? That's hilarious that you called it "Disaster Place!" Ha ha ha!

@meleah: Thanks! Mercedes did a great job!

May 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

damn only TWM could make a"trip" to a barber shop (no matter how absorbing that shop may be) interestin'...hell for twelve or thirteen years the only "barber shop" i knew was: a chair in the kitchen the ol' man with a wen electric clipper in one hand and a beer in the other—buzz buzz buzz—next (there were five of us boys)—than no buzz buzz buzz till i was drafted....

Some of the worst mistakes of my life have been haircuts.
Jim Morrison

rr

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterraginrr

oh yeah...crosby's "almost cut my hair" might have been an intriguin' end clip after a "trip"
to the barber's...just a thought...

rr

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterraginrr

@rr: Just conjured up a mental picture of the five of you getting buzzed by your dad swigging his beer. Not quite Norman Rockwell, but an interesting mental image! great Jim Morrison quote and I agree, "Almost Cut My Hair" would've been perfect, I'll have to save it for my next haircut post.

May 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Great blog!
'A cut above the rest'!

May 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter"Boris"

@"Boris:" Ha ha ha! Thanks, Daddio!

May 9, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Hay I thought you where going to check out Hair Box AKA Spring St Barber, you should really check this place out !!! I never been to Astor & always knew about them, my brother goes there.

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJHwang

@JHwang: I'm going to check them out sometime, but wanted to go to Astor because the clip from the documentary seemed interesting and I wanted to support it. Stay tuned!

May 10, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

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