Astor Place Hairstylists, known for its affordable cuts and international staff, will close at the end of November "unless some miracle happens," floor manager Frank Luciano said on Sunday. The COVID-19 pandemic has "killed us," Luciano said, explaining that business is down 90 percent since they reopened in June during NYC's second phase of pandemic business reopenings.
"At full staff we had 54 barbers and beauticians," Luciano said. "Now we're down to 25 at most, depending on the day. We are following all the protocols and spacing everything out, with partitions, but we're not able to cover expenses."
Astor Place Hair opened in 1946, according to Luciano, and once occupied several floors in the building at 2 Astor Place. Rising rents forced owners John and Paul Vezza to consolidate operations in the basement in 2004.
The Vezza brothers are the third generation in their family to own and operate the barbershop, but they do not own the building, and Luciano could not say how much they pay in rent.
The building is owned by GFP Real Estate, formerly know as Newmark Holdings, which bought the building in 2017. (A spokesperson for GFP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)
Luciano said Mayor Bill de Blasio stopped by on Saturday for a haircut, as he has done ever since he was a student at NYU. "Maybe he can do something," Luciano said. "Everybody's calling now asking what they can do. Hopefully some miracle will happen to keep us afloat."
De Blasio also got his hair cut at Astor Place Hairstylists in June to celebrate the launch of pandemic Phase 2 reopenings.
“After hearing the horrible news, the Mayor visited his friends at Astor Place Hair on Saturday," de Blasio spokesperson Bill Neidhardt said in an email. "They are a true New York City small business institution and we hope for a positive path forward.”
There is precedent for de Blasio intervening to help a struggling business negotiate with their landlord. In January, de Blasio and other officials managed to save historic Queens bar Neir's Tavern from closing. Unfortunately, it may need saving again.