Posts Tagged “3 train”

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Royal Barber Shop
150 William Street (down the stairs)
New York, NY 10038
(212) 962-6114‎

The Haircut

(Wow, I really am the worst subway barber blogger on the Web. Here I am, ready for my next haircut and I still haven’t posted about my previous haircut from way back on June 26th. Well, here I go.)

The company I work for recently moved our offices to the Union Square, so that provided me a whole new set of trains to use as a starting point for haircuts. I jumped on either the 4 or 5 and took it down to Fulton Street. I had to go above ground and walk a few blocks, but I knew I’d find the Royal Barber Shop in the 2/3 subway station.

I spotted the sign from about half a block away and then got a little excited when I saw the barber pole tucked into the corner of the building. I had a feeling I was in for something special.

I went through the door and got a bit mixed up. It looked like your standard office building lobby, but there was a small staircase on the left that led to the subway and a handful of stores. Some gold letters painted on the wall pointed me to the barber shop. You might notice that someone wrote “SERVICE” with a permanent marker in the picture below. Shame.

The barber shop was at the end of a short hallway behind two large windows with curtains drawn. I was afraid they were closed, but I just beat the 7pm deadline.

I walked in and there was only one man in the shop sweeping up. I would later find out that his name was Angelo. I think he was about ready to leave, but a customer is a customer and he had me sit down.

“First time here?” he asked. He couldn’t have been much more than 25.

I told him it was and I explained the whole Subway Barbers thing.

“Yup, first time. I’m getting my haircut at ever subway barbershop in the city and taking pictures of the whole thing. The shops, the barbers, the haircuts.” I said.
“Why? For school or something?” They always think it’s for school.

“Nope, just for fun I guess.” I said.

“Oh.”

That was the end of that conversation. We went on to speak a little bit about our respective careers. He said he has been cutting hair for seven years. Three in New York, a few in Miami and then back to New York City. He explained that liked what he did, but I wasn’t really listening. I was more focused on the giant espresso machine in the corner and the half-empty bottle of liquor next to it. I’m not sure what it was, but I would describe it as something Italians drink after dinner.

Angelo was finishing up the bulk of my haircut and he disappeared behind a blue plastic table cloth with clouds on it that was taped over a doorway. I had no idea what was on the other side, but it had to be special.

While he fiddled with things in the back, I tried to figure out air conditioner. It was the size of a dog house you’d buy for a spoiled great dane with these huge air ducts coming out of it. It looked like an angry octopus. Cooling methods is something I’m beginning to pay attention to with all of these subway barbers. I guess it’s not easy cooling a place that’s underground.

My barber returned a minute later with two steaming hot towels and placed one on my face and another on the back of my neck. Not bad at all. They smelled a little like they were steaming in the back all day, but who was I to complain? You don’t get the hot towel treatment at a lot of barber shops, so I just figured I’d shut up and enjoy it.

After that, Angelo pumped some warmed shaving cream into his hands and spread it on my sideburns (or where my sideburns would be if I could actually grow them) and the back of my neck. He then took a straight edge and cleaned up the edges. The straight edge always frightens me a little, but I do like it the result more than the more common buzzer.

That’s usually the end of a haircut, but Angelo offered up one more thing.

“Tonic?”

I’m not a tonic user. I don’t know what it does and I don’t really like the way it smells, but after hot towels and straight edges, it just made sense.

“Sure!”

A few squirts of tonic and $15 for the haircut plus a $5 tip and I was all set with the third subway barber visit.

Note: Angelo let me take a picture of the shop, but he didn’t want to be photographed himself. This is the first time I’ve come across this and I hope it doesn’t develop into a trend.

The Reaction

Here are the before and after pictures from this haircut. This is usually the part of these posts where I write up the funny things my wife says. Not this time!

I don’t have the exact quotes, but I think it was something as simple as “not bad.” It could be that it really wasn’t that bad or she has lost interest in making fun of my haircuts. I win either way!

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