In recent years, vintage barber shops are making a comeback in New York City. The new generation of barber shops offer high quality cuts using traditional techniques and fancy products, but more often than not come with a hefty price tag. Nevertheless, many of these aspire to evoke a sense of the classic, old-world charm that still exists in the city. Some of these businesses are still going strong, but many are threatened by dwindling customers and gentrification. As a nod to those who have inspired the new breed of barbershops, here are 10 authentic vintage barber shops that have been serving customers for at least 50 years, and counting.
10. Paul Mole Barber Shop
If you’re looking for old-fashioned barber shops in New York, Paul Mole Barber Shop is THE oldest barber shop in Manhattan. Located at 1034 Lexington Ave between 73rd and 74th Streets, this Upper East Side staple is the Rolls Royce of barber shops, and has been proudly offering old world barber service since 1913. Time seems to stop inside the walls of Paul Mole, exuding a certain retro charm attracting clients of all ages. That said, service is not cheap, running at $40 for a shave, and an additional $40 for every half an hour of haircut. To reinforce its old school spirit, Paul Mole is cash only.
9. Vincent’s Barber
Vincent’s Barber at 1505 Cortelyou Road in Flatbush, Brooklyn is about as old school as it gets. The no frills, family-run establishment is run by Vincenzo Luca, a Sicilian native who has been in the barbering business for 40 years. Before it became Vincent’s, the same location was the Cortelyou Road Barber Shop which opened 103 years ago by Gaspari Morisi, making it arguably the oldest barber shop in New York. Today, customers can still see the initials “G.M.” spelled out on the floor tiles in front of the door. At $13 a haircut, the value of this beloved neighborhood store is pretty tough to beat.
7. Neighborhood Barber
Neighborhood Barber at 439 East 9th Street in the East Village has quite a loyal following. Russian-born owner and master barber Eric Uvaydov has tended to the heads and faces of many high-powered editors, as well as fashion designer Narcisco Rodriguez. The unassuming store is adorned with classic barber’s poles and newspaper clippings from the early 2000s. With only three seats available, there are still no appointments needed, unless you want to sit in Eric’s chair, which usually has a longer wait than the others.
6. York Barbershop
If you are looking for a “Mad Men“-style barber, York Barbershop would be your perfect pick. Located in the heart of the Upper East Side, York Barbershop is one of the first authentic barber shops in New York City. Since being around for more than 85 years, not much has changed about this barber shop, especially its interior which is filled with an eclectic collection of vintage accessories. Besides offering the full range of haircuts, shaves, facials, and massages for men, York also offers a limited number of services for women.
5. Ideal Barber Shop
Ideal Barber Shop at 253-07 Union Turnpike has been cutting hair in Queens for more than 50 years. Run by brothers Frank and Jose Loccisano, and recently joined by Frank Jr., this barber shop is a prime example of great family businesses. “The neighborhood has changed a lot in 50 years,” says Frank. “But no matter who moves in, they’re still gonna need a haircut.”
4. Claudio the Barber
Claudio the Barber has been a hole-in-the-wall chop shop at 116th Street and First Avenue for more than 60 years. Originally from Salerno, Italy, Claudio Caponigro started working in the East Harlem barbershop in the 1950s and took over the business a decade later. The barbershop has been there since World War I, and the shop’s three ancient, peppermint-colored, vinyl chairs still exist. Now more than 80-year-old, Mr. Caponigro is one of the few Italians who remained after the neighborhood became largely Hispanic. In 2011, gentrification in the neighborhood caused rental pressures which threatened to close the shop. Luckily, a young client came to rescue, offering Mr. Caponigro a storefront just a block down the street. Now fully relocated, the barber shop has updated to modern times, and by that Mr. Caponigro means “First time available by phone in over 60 years!”
3. Sigfrido’s Barber Shop
Another old-school Italian barber, Sigfrido’s Barber Shop is well loved in the Gramercy neighborhood. Located on First Avenue between 22nd and 23rd Streets, it has been serving customers for more than 50 years, and has no intention of stopping. The staff is a jolly crowd, often found speaking in Italian. Not to mention that service is extremely fast, and for only $16 a haircut, it’s definitely a bang-for-the-buck.
2. Tony’s Park Barber Shop
Tony’s Park Barber Shop is located on Fifth Avenue in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and has a solid reputation for great cuts. The shop has been around for “over 100 years,” according to owner Tony Garofalo, who has been with the shop for just over 50 of those years. Since buying the shop in 1964, not much has changed. The interior is filled with antiques and souvenirs, like a broken wooden cash register, as well as signs that read “Please control your children.” True to his traditional barbering methods, he still finishes up his haircuts using warm shaving cream and a straight razor.
1. Royal Barber Shop & Stylists
Royal Barber Shop & Stylists is very easy to miss if you ever walk past the Fulton Street subway entrance between Gold and William Streets. In fact, the store is probably one of the few barbers in the city serving customers underground since the late 1930s. “I got used to it,” said owner Dominick Abruscato, who has been working here with no direct sunlight for 35 years. Mostly dependent on regular customers, business suffered greatly when the MTA closed the subway stop for two years while they built a second entrance and exit to connect to the new Fulton Center. Now Mr. Abruscato is looking to pass off his business, but hoping to keep working there some days of the week before his full retirement.