New York Daily Photo Analytics

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Astor Hairstylists

Astor Hair, Astor Place Hair - everyone knows this place, including many who have heard of it from far away places. A family business, the shop was started in 1945 by Enrico Vezza Sr. In 1965, it was taken over by his son, Enrico Vezza Jr., who now manages it with his son John. In the 1980s and 90s, people lined up to get cuts there; haircutters gave live performances on TV and in clubs. They occupied a ground floor retail space, a mezzanine, and a basement space with over 100 haircutters total. The walls are covered with photos of celebrities who have been there over the years. In 2005, due to a rent increase, they consolidated operations to the basement space with about 30 haircutters.
The haircuts? Haircutting is very personal - people are often convinced that only their haircutter can do it right. There is also a lot of snobbery in haircutting - many feel that a cut so cheap ($13) just CAN'T be good. To the contrary - many of the cutters here have left high-end operations for the more relaxed, low-stress atmosphere. Many have found that more expensive cuts elsewhere have not necessarily been better. Of course, like any surgical procedure, there are always less experienced cutters, so I give Astor Place a thumbs up, with a caveat: try to get a recommendation. I use Scotty...

10 comments:

Eric said...

OK, so next time I'm in NYC and I need a hair cut I'll ask for Scotty! Good to know.

Funny how this place looks like it does belong to New York. The staircase, the colors on the wall. You could not have this in Paris I think.

Denton said...

I'm one of those who thinks only my hair stylist knows how to cut my hair. Logically, I know better given there is not much of my hair left to cut ... This was an interesting post as is all of yours.

Cynthia said...

Oh and by the way, if you don't need a haircut you can stop by and get a Picasso for ten grand and change. Hysterical! Only in New York.

Brian said...

BTW - Scotty is the haircutter at the far right in my supplemental photo. He's off Sunday and Monday. I've tried a number of people there with mixed results. He's the best I've had so far - he used to cut uptown at much fancier salons.
Brian

Susan said...

Wow! That is amazing...at first I thought it was the subway!

I'll believe you if you say a $13 can be a good one...I got my hair cut today and paid $55 plus $10 tip. I thought it was pretty resonable! ha!

Great picture...where is this?

Susan said...

reasonable....

Brian said...

Astor Hair is on Astor place just off Broadway in the Village - the street is just one block long, one block South of 8th Street.
Brian

Sukey said...

Some of these cutters are barbers and mainly know how to cut men's hair. If you're a woman, I highly recommend Domenick, who I've been going to for over 10 years. (He also cuts men's hair well.) He's so busy that you need to make an appointment, which is better than when you had to just show up, put your name on a list, and come back 1-2 hours later.

Anonymous said...

worth the subway trip from midtown, did it many times...
miss this kind of place on the left coast.

Anonymous said...

I read about Astor Place in Seventeen magazine in 1984, and so on a Drama club trip to NYC from the good old mountains of Northeastern PA that year, I headed down to the villiage for the haircut that was going to change my life. It was a great adventure and, actually, a great haircut. Like everybody else, I waited in line for my turn, and once in the chair, was given the quintessential 1980's asymetrical cut. I discovered I had sassy curls for the first time -- instead of just a bushy mess that I had been blow drying for far too long. Needless to say, my appearance was radically transformed by my new look -- a look that would not really become popular in my small coal mining town for at least another year. This year, I'm taking my daughters. They may or may not want to get their hair cut, but if you have the chance, I'd suggest you jump at it.