NYU Students Party at Beloved Barbershop

Stephen J. Arias

Astor Place Hairstylists, the venerable barbershop that has stood in the East Village of Manhattan for about 75 years, almost closed during the pandemic. Not only has it survived, but the buzzing of clippers is now joined once a month by DJs who turn the 10,000 square-foot basement into a dance club.

The party was started in September by Quincy Davis, 19, a sophomore and music major at New York University, who wanted to create a social scene for his classmates after two years of remote learning. It is held monthly and is open to the public.

“I can’t even remember what I was like at his age, but this kid has got his act together and is way too cool for school,” said Jonathan Trichter, 51, the chief executive of Astor Place Hairstylists and one of the investors who saved the barbershop from closing. “And the DJs are tight.”

Last Friday, finals reduced the crowd from several hundred to a few dozen, organizers say, but the enthusiasm remained. After paying $8, partygoers danced to tracks by Playboi Carti and M.I.A., took selfies from salon chairs, and admired paintings by the barbershop’s longtime manager, Michael Saviello, known as Big Mike.

A few partygoers talked about their hairstyle. Interviews have been edited.

Major: Recorded music

Those look like dad jeans.

I like baggy jeans. They’re kind of worn. They make my legs look really fat.

And you’re wearing a series of jackets.

This is my dad’s. It’s a baseball shirt from Spike Lee’s production company, 40 Acres and a Mule. I needed something red for the show. I wanted to portray a Santa, but like me, Santa with dreads.

What’s the worst haircut you’ve ever had?

In fourth grade, for Halloween, I was James Harden. I had an Afro and he had a mohawk at the time. So to really sell the part I shaved it to make a mohawk. I rocked it.

Major: Film

Your jacket looks like camouflage, or like you spilled some ink on it.

This is from Stüssy. My dad wears a lot of this stuff.

Cool dad. Are you from New York?

No, I’m from all over. He’s in the military.

What’s the worst haircut you’ve ever had?

During Covid quarantine, I tried to cut curtain bangs on myself and it was bad.

Major: Music business

Your T-shirt says “You’re fired.” Is that a Trump thing?

A little bit controversial. I thought it was funny. It was such a stupid show. And it’s just like a plain black tee. It’s not like I’m wearing a MAGA hat or anything.

Are you wearing parachute pants?

Yeah. I got them from a brand called Needles. If you haven’t heard of it, they’re famous for their track suit pant. It’s Japanese; denim and everything oversized.

Who cuts your hair?

I went somewhere in the financial district. The people are chill; I know some Japanese employees who work there. I’m Japanese myself.

Major: Politics and public policy, pre-law

What’s this jacket?

It’s thrifted from Buffalo Exchange. This is my go-to going-out jacket.

And your little black top?

It’s from Urban. Cheap. Easy. Fun.

Tell me about the worst haircut you ever got.

Back when I thought I had straight hair they cut it layered. It was uneven, shaggy, disgusting.

Who did that to you?

Some white barber from my home, in Long Island.

Occupation: C.E.O. of Astor Place Hairstylists

Nice looking suit. Did you have it made?

Yes. Isaia.

Oh. Very nice. Same with the shirt?

So the shirt is a fascinating story. It’s custom shirts by Geneva, one of the last manufacturers in Manhattan. They make the shirts by hand in Midtown. I went to him because the guys I was supposed to go to for more expensive shirts weren’t calling me back. And when I went to his shop, I noticed he had stacks of shirts for high-profile people like Kissinger. They were buying their shirts through him, via Paul Stewart’s private label. He was making Paul Stewart shirts.

Who has the best hair right now?

I just saw the Murdoch documentary. Lachlan Murdoch, when his hair is buzzcut short, looks really sharp.

All right, Lachlan Murdock. Did not expect that.

Is that a normal Carhartt jacket, or Carhartt WIP.

It’s a normal Carhartt. It’s pretty old.

Your shirt says “Believers and Daydreamers.”

I got it for five bucks at Urban Outfitters. It was on clearance and then 50 percent off of the clearance. It was delightful.

Are your shoes Doc Martens?

They’re white Doc Martens platforms. They were a gift from a friend I’m no longer friends with.

Who does your hair?

I do my own hair.

Major: Economics

You’re wearing Off-White.

I am. I came from a costume party, hence the mask.

What was the theme of the costume party?

No theme.

What’s the worst haircut you’ve ever had?

Once I got a treble clef shaved into my head, and I had purple hair.

In the hair game right now, who is doing it best?

I think Drake’s got great hair.

Major: Business

Those are some very loose pants.

Flared pants. I forgot where I got them.

And a long sleeve T-shirt.

From Asos. And my puffer is some Korean brand. Asclo.

What’s the worst haircut you ever got?

All of high school, I really had a terrible haircut, I’m not going to lie. I had a bad mohawk.

Major: Neuroscience

Tell me a little about what you’re wearing?

I’m wearing this dress that I actually wore to my high school graduation, and then a Santa hat I picked up at Walgreens today, just to complete the outfit.

Where did you get your cable-knit cardigan?

From Garage. It’s a very fuzzy material. I thought that it would be warm.

Who does your hair?

A woman in New Jersey. She’s Dominican and has been doing my hair since I was 12 years old. I have curly hair, it’s a little hard to work around. I’m definitely loyal to her.

What’s your worst haircut?

When I was in high school, I wanted curtain bangs — this was before curtain bangs were popular on TikTok — this woman did the bangs so blunt. Never again.

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