Now and then, when I get the chance, I like to visit old barber shops in other neighborhoods and get my hair cut.
Tony's Park Barber Shop, on Fifth Avenue in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, has been here "over 100 years," according to owner Tony Garofalo, who has been with the shop for just over 50 of those years.
The place is beautiful, in the way that old places are beautiful, filled with antiques and souvenirs.
It's painted robin's egg blue and topped with an extravagantly detailed pressed-tin ceiling. The ancient green barber chairs match the cabinetry, where windows read: "Sterilizer."
A busted wooden cash register sits unused next to a Yankees cap, under a note for "No Refunds."
On one wall, above the chairs for waiting customers, a faded sign reads, "Please control your children."
Simon Doolittle at The Brooklyn Paper did a nice piece on Tony and his shop back in 2008:
"Tony 'Felice' Garofalo has done well for himself. He left Italy after World War II and stayed in Switzerland until he was 26, emigrating to Brooklyn in 1964.
Within a week of his arriving, Garofalo got a job in what is now his barbershop, located on Fifth Avenue between 44th and 45th streets. He bought it less than a year later, for $1,800, from another Italian immigrant.
Working a second job loading beer trucks, he bought the building several years later for $35,000. He now owns the salon and the seven apartments above it. Garofalo’s English today bears the imprint of both Italy and Brooklyn. Speaking of his customers who return for haircuts, he said, 'They still-a come here — from Staten Island, from New Joisey.'"
A haircut here still costs just $10. For that price, you get the feeling of being cast back in time.