Astor Place Hair to close down after 75 years over pandemic
Astor Place Hair Stylists, the iconic salon and barbershop that has been an East Village fixture for 73 years, is the latest casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.
Management at the basement barber shop, which counted everyone from actors Robert de Niro and Kevin Bacon to artist Andy Warhol, Mayor de Blasio and disgraced former state assembly speaker Sheldon Silver as loyal customers, told staffers Friday that the doors will close just before Thanksgiving.
“We’re down 90% of our business,” manager Michael Saviello told The Post, adding many of the offices and shops nearby have shuttered because of the infection. “We’ve been open every day since reopening in June, but we’ve reduced our hours.”
The decision devastated the 40 hairstylists, some of whom have worked at the shop longer than the 40 years put in by Saviello — aka “Big Mike.”
“A lot of people cried when we told them the news,” he said. “Some of our customers cried because they came here as kids and now bring their kids to get their hair cut.”
Stylist Valentino Gogu, 72, who has worked at Astor Hair since arriving in New York from Romania in 1984, was in disbelief, Saviello said.
Gogu has worked seven days a week at the barber shop and famously cut Hilary Swank’s hair for the 1999 film “Boys Don’t Cry.”
Mayor de Blasio gets a haircut at Astor Place Hair Stylists in June.William Farrington
The budget-friendly barber shop has been owned by the same family for three generations. Enrico Vezza opened the shop with the motto that no matter their economic background, everyone needs a haircut, which start at $23, Saviello said.
Known as “the United Nations of hair cutting,” where stylists speak several languages, the sprawling single-room salon attracted tourists from around the world.
Stylists’ stations are crowded with autographed photos of their celebrity clients, and Saviello has set up an artists’ studio where he paints portraits during his lunch hours. Other stylists set up a karaoke machine at the hair-cutting factory.
“Maybe we’ll come back when the city comes back, but right now it’s not feasible,” Saviello said.