Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tony's Park Barber Shop

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.


onemorefoldedsunset said...

Thanks Jeremiah. I'm so happy to see Tony's here - a beautiful old barber shop.

James said...

Having hailed from Dayton for quite some time, it's always nice to see a National Cash Register - made there.
These photographs look like studies for a Norman Rockwell Post cover.

Anonymous said...

If you're ever on the upper east side, check out the old barber shop in the 86th Street and Lexington subway station (NE entrance). They also do shoe shining and watch repair -- great, authentic spot that's like walking into another era.

Anonymous said...

There have been a recent spate of barber shop openings on 23rd street betwween 6th and 8th. What makes a place "authentic" isn't necessarily how old and decrepit it looks.

Walking Fool said...

For my next cut, I'm going here! Thanks for the introduction.Ma

Anonymous said...

That looks so much like my uncle Vinny's (god rest his soul) barbershop on Kings Hwy in Midwood that was called Benny's Barbershop. Benny was his father, and that place was open for over 60 years. He closed the shop about 10 years ago. Now it's a Kosher pharmacy (!).