Brooklyn’s Park Slope Barber shop on 7th Avenue and 4th Street is celebrating a big birthday this year--but it's not entirely clear which one.
In 1948 the Fiumefreddo family took over the business, back when it was still across the street, where falafel is now made under a tin ceiling. They inherited the leather chairs, the gas-powered hot towel steamer, the 100-year-old brass cash register, among other artifacts.
They don’t use the hot towel steamer anymore because it’s against the health code. “Back in the '60s,” one of the Fiumefreddo brothers told me, “the Board of Health shut them down because they were unsanitary. They found a lot of barbers were using them to keep sandwiches warm.”
Though the Fiumefreddos are celebrating their 60th, the shop’s birthday goes back another 40-odd years. The window says it was established in 1906, but the awning puts it at 1904. So which is it?
“The guy who did the awning got it wrong,” Mr. Fiumefreddo explained, “We just left it like that.”
So it was opened in 1906?
“Nah, 1903 actually,” Mr. Fiumefreddo laughed, “The window painter got it wrong, too.”
If it did open in 1903, that makes this barber shop a whopping 105 years old. That's just one year younger than the oldest barber shop in New Jersey and the oldest barber shop in the U.S. (both 1902, let them fight it out). I'd have to guess that being established in 1903 makes Park Slope Barber the oldest shop in New York City. Does anyone know one that's older?
More photos of Park Slope Barber shop