All photos via NYC Barber Museum
Joining the ever growing list of quirky city institutions is the NYC Barber Museum, a newly opened Upper West Side establishment dedicated to the art and history of barbering. The brainchild of Arthur Rubinoff — a fourth-generation “Master Barber” and the CEO of the Reamir barbershop chain whose star-studded clientele includes Bruce Willis, Tony Danza and Regis Philbis — the museum opened this past Friday with much fanfare. Now it’s paying tribute to generations of old school barbers, while also offering a variety of grooming services to visitors.
The barber museum has been a dream of Rubinoff’s ever since he set up his first shop on the Upper West Side in 1999. It’s dedicated to the memory of his father, who was also a barber much like Rubinoff’s grandfather and great grandfather.
The trade has evolved heavily in the four generations since Rubinoff’s great grandfather established what he claimed to be Uzbekistan’s first cut-and-shave shop. The NYC Barber Museum, as such, is a flashback to the past, showcasing a collection of rare artifacts and barbershop equipment, which Rubinoff has collected over the last few decades: this includes antique barber chairs, poles, signs and an assortment of old-fashioned razors and blades that are no longer used.
One of the most notable artifacts is a Koch barber chair, which dates back to 1929. (You might recognize it from the famous 1955 James Dean photo shoot for TIME magazine.)
The museum sits just across Rubinoff’s barbershop on Columbus Avenue between West 74th and 75th Streets. Best yet, it’s free to visit, only charging for its grooming services, which take place in a retro setting harking back to the early 1900’s.
The NYC Barber Museum is located at 290 Columbus Ave. It’s open “casual” hours from Sat – Mon; Tues 10:30am to 9pm, Wed 10am to 8pm, Thurs 11am to 11pm, and Fri 10am to 7pm. For more information, visit reamir.com or follow @nycbarbershopmuseum on Instagram.