I remember going to the barber shop as a young child. A haircut cost 50 cents. My father was flabbergasted when the price went as high as a dollar. I recall there were old men who would just sit around in the barber shop talking. Obviously retired, this was better than black and white television.
But, as with everything else, the barber shop has changed—given way to salons and hair styling, neck and scalp massages, and products, products, products. And the only people doing much chatting now are the clients with the hair stylists. Hair care isn’t much of a social phenomenon any more.
I’ve blogged before about my current barber, Dale at the Tonsorial Parlor, and what a quaint setting it is, just a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean.
I just became aware of the oldest barber shop in New York: Paul Molé, at 1031 Lexington Avenue between 73rd and 74th Streets. And what a shop it appears to be with its chrome and leather barber chairs, flat screen TVs, cappuccinos, and some well known clients through the years: John Steinbeck, William F. Buckley, Henry Fonda, Bette Davis, John F. Kennedy Jr., Joe DiMaggio, Art Carney… And with over a dozen barbers speaking Italian, Spanish, Russian, Persian, and English, this place must be a bit of a social experience.