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Culture
New York’s biggest salon

The Astor Place Hairstylist // 75 hairdressers, whose clients include De Niro and Bruce Willis, and 15 languages spoken

At the entrance you are welcomes by a sign that lists the languages spoken in the salon. There are 15 of them, including real languages like Italian, Russian, and Farsi as well as invented languages like bee bop and hip hop. 15 different languages between 75 hair stylists. The Astor Place Hairstylist is located in New York, on the Upper East Side, and has been here since the 1940s. Since then it has not stopped growing. To begin with, the quarter contained only hardware stores, and things like nightlife and hype were unknown phenomena. At the start it was only a barber shop with four seats, opened by an Italian-American from New York.

―Astor Place Hairsylist

Then the 70s arrived, bringing with them hard times for barbers. Nobody wanted to get their hair cut, and Peace, Love & long hair blowing in the wind were the order of the day. Luckily the fabulous seventies came to an end and the 80s arrived, with their love of disco and punk, and the Astoria got back to work. And there was a lot of work. Too much for those four seats. So walls were broken down and the salon overflowed into the basement, at the sides and behind, and stylist-stations upon styling-stations were created – every corner was used. During its most active period, 113 hair stylists worked side by side, from morning until evening.

The Astor became known, famous even, and celebrities and VIPs began to frequent it. Robert De Niro is a regular customer at the Astor, as indeed are Bruce Willis and Channing Tatum. But fame has not altered the easy philosophy of this place, where there is no room for the empty image. Everything is real, full of life and passion. Like one of those trattorias that becomes extremely famous precisely because they allow you to fully enjoy yourself and to relax. Now, if you go to New York, you will have a new and unmissable address to visit. With long hair, obviously.

All the pictures: William Laviano Photo

Federico Flamminio
23/1/2016