Thursday, October 3, 2013

Ray Beauty Supply

Ray Beauty Supply has got to be one of the last old-school businesses left on 8th Avenue off Times Square. I've long admired their vintage sign, and their title, "King of Beauty," but I'd never gone inside until recently.



Ray has been here for over 50 years and their claim to fame is being "New York's Oldest Beauty Supply." Owned by the Mastrangelo family, who bought it from the Rays, it's a favorite of hairdressers, but they also sell to consumers. They've got everything--shampoos and cosmetics, wigs, hairdryers, clippers--everything.

At first glance, the staff looks a little intimidating, Bronx-style beauty supply guys posing in muscle shirts with baseball bats on their website, but I found them to be sweet as pie, helpful, and generous. Before making a sale, they'll give you free tips on how to deal with hair troubles and even print out recipes for DIY products you can make at home.

I suspect the angry reviews on Yelp might be due to the fact that this place, and its staff, probably does not suffer princesses gladly. Ray is King, after all, and this is not Sephora.

They've even got a "you break it, you bought it" sign--I haven't seen one of those in years. Hanging on chains from the ceiling it reads, "You open, you buy! You break, you buy!" Definitely not Sephora.



As a bonus, in the front window and in back, the store has a small collection of antique barber furnishings--a chair and a towel warmer, plus a handful of candy cane-striped poles, including one dating back to 1903. If you're in the market for an antique barber pole, inquire.

Otherwise, go in and buy some beauty supplies.

10 comments:

Mykola ( Mick) Dementiuk said...

Yikes! On the web site it looks like they'll beautify your hair and kick your ass afterwards.

Anonymous said...

Oh man. Can't wait to go to this place. Thanks for the tip.

Mark said...

Next door to Ray was the notorious 70's drag bar, The Gilded Grape. Andy Warhol got his camera stolen there one night.

laura said...

rays is the best beauty supply store. i dont "get" sephora"- never could understand paying so much for nothing. all packaging but same product. i wonder when these supply places will go out of business.

Ken Mac said...

sharp!

Jacky Smith said...

ikes! On the web site it looks like they'll beautify your hair and kick your ass afterwards.

Beauty Products, Beauty Supply, Beauty Store

Anonymous said...

went to ray's over the weekend and it's closed for good. no one knows if they are going to re open somewhere else. It closed like 3 weeks ago.

Anonymous said...

Went Saturday in the rain to discover Ray's is closed. There's a Marshall Notice on the door behind the gate. Last time I was there in early fall the place had the tell-tale signs that they might be closing. I asked the man behind the counter directly and he said they were renovating. I think he lied. I wish he hadn't because I would have bought extra of the product I always get there that no one else carries. Oh well. Bummer to see another NYC landmark disappear. I don't recognize NYC anymore. Thanks for the work you do on this blog. Don't know what I'd do without it. You should do a book.

Anonymous said...

I asked the guys in the shoe store adjacent to Ray's why they were closed. They said that one of the owners had died suddenly and that the employees were trying to negotiate with the landlord to take over the lease. I am so very saddened by this news. It doesn't look like they will open again. I need my Mikey!!! This place has been my got to beauty store for decades. I love all of the guys in there. It will be a tradgedy if they cannot reopen.

Elliot Cohen said...

I bought a Wahl barber style trimmer from them 30 years ago. Last year, I brought it in to service it. They replaced the blades and lubricated it while I waited. Maybe it cost me 15 bucks. I walked out amazed thinking where can you do something like that anymore. I guess you cant!
Elcoh