Monday, April 9, 2012

Astor Hair Documentary

I first visited Astor Hair in 1989. Later, the Royal barber shop on St. Mark's Place became my regular spot for a haircut. But just recently, I've gone back to Astor Hair--mostly because it's one of the last places in the East Village that still feels like the East Village. More than that, it still feels like New York City.

Which is why I was excited to hear that filmmaker (and JVNY regular) Karen Gehres is making a documentary about the place. She writes:

"With so many NYC Institutions dropping like flies, due to skyrocketing rent, one barber shop remains. Since 1939, Astor Barber has been cutting hair with pizzazz and is still one of NYC's most loved institutions. Get your hair cut from cradle to grave...literally! ...From the countless celebrity customers to the karaoke in the back with other 50 barbers, this barber shop is never dull."

Check out the trailer on Kickstarter and please donate some cash to help her complete the film.


John M said...

I've gone back to Astor, too. It's just so amazing, so many barbers, rock and roll always playing...I went in not long ago and asked if anyone was still there who knew how to do a rockabilly cut. Blank stares all around, even from one of the old timers they called

Well, 'Elvis', they knew. Great place.

Mykola ( Mick) Dementiuk said...

I remember it from the late 60s-early 70s when hardly anyone entered the place, long hair being a vital necessary need of the time, with just a few old man getting their hair cuts. But I recall them at a different location at the time, right around the block on Broadway. I think I just went in at one time, too many kids for my taste and needs.

randall said...

In 1992 the swim team that I was on went there before our big championship tournament and we got our high school logo shaved into our hair.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of barbershops, is "Mei Dick" on Mott Street gone? People are going there to take a picture of the notorious sign but it's no longer there. There is a lot of garbage on the steps leading down to the underground location too.

Marty Wombacher said...

I'm getting my next haircut at Astor and I just donated to the Kickstarter campaign. I can't wait to see the finished documentary!

Karen Gehres said...

Thanks again Marty!
Randall, I have the footage of your swim team getting your heads shaved w/the logo! One of your team got a very stylized little swimmer on the side of his head. Can share if you want to see it.
BTW,this is Karen,the one making the documentary :)

Scuba Diva said...

A few weeks ago I was walking by the space and a guy was sweeping up outside. He managed to hook my ankle with his broom and I went down—hard—on my ribs. The few of them outside the store waited until I was able to get up and go on my way.

Since my lung wasn't punctured, I chose not to go for an X-ray—since they couldn't even tape it if it was fractured, and it would amount to needless radiation going through me—but I still have back pain and am taking narcotics for the pain. I'm also seeing my chiropractor weekly, and he says I'm healing well, if slowly.

So, in short, I'm not a fan of Astor Hair.

JAZ said...

I've always loved getting my hair cut in one of the subway station barbershops. Was uptown recently and got a quick buzz at the one in the Lexington & 86th station. Probably for the same reason that you cite - it's one of the few places that still feels like New York.

I wonder how many stations still have barbers?

Anonymous said...

I always went to Astor Place when I lived in NYC, and even when I had been gone for years and came back, my barber never forgot me. I love that place.