Got Hair Problems? Head To Ray’s Barbershop
Normally, seeing my face before 8 AM is an unwelcome, ungodly, and simply cruel form of torture that I avoid at all costs. But, this past Wednesday, I had a dilemma.
My office’s Kick Off the Summer Party was that same evening and I hadn’t had a haircut in over two weeks. Since hair is as much a reflection upon how you feel about yourself as it is a determining factor of how people view you, it was time to get serious, take the 4 train to Fulton Street, and go to Ray’s!
The Ray’s Barbershop that I go to is on 46 Park Place between Church Street and West Broadway. It seems to be near everything: TriBeCA, SoHo, City Hall, St. John’s University, and The World Trade Center. Ray and his wife Linda have been in the business for 14 years, but only opened this new location a couple months ago. The customers range from traveling businessmen, the employees of the Financial District, tourists who are exploring downtown, to something that Lilia is most proud of – families that live in the area. Russian immigrants, Ray and Lilia are one of the best examples of what a good marriage and moving to a new country can do. Over the past 14 years, their TriBeCa and Lexington locations have grown and so have their two daughters. One is already through college and working in finance while the other still has high school to finish before she pursues her dream of becoming a psychologist.
Like their children, the barbershops have blossomed, but after hearing complaints of not enough room for strollers and seeing the growing lines of customers, it was time to think bigger. So they closed the Lexington location, bought a new space, and refurbished it.
Lilia still carries photos of the gutted building, still shocked that they were actually able to pull it together. They added the plumbing, electricity, marble floors, and antique 1950s Belmont barber chairs, and made a point to make the place child and dog friendly. With 8 barber chairs, a portable baby seat, and plenty of space, Ray’s new location is more than ready to deal with their previous volume of business as well as the new customers that will soon frequent the New World Trade Center.
It is a neighborhood of new beginnings and Ray and Lilia are excited about the end of construction and the rejuvenation of this neighborhood. But, besides all of the newness, what is it that makes Ray’s Barbershop worth our Used-York-City while?
Anyone who travels frequently knows that a good barber is hard to find. Some use different names to refer to different cuts, some don’t ask enough questions, and some – sadly – have the audacity to not believe you when you tell them that your hairline is uneven. All a customer wants is a barber that listens and has enough sense to notice the particularities of the customer’s hair and hairline.
In my case, during my first cut, Ray immediately noticed that I have sensitive skin. ‘You get many bumps, yes?’ I looked up at him so shocked I almost didn’t answer. This conversation usually wouldn’t happen until the third haircut when a barber would realize that he had been using the wrong type of razor on my skin. ‘I know you want a fade, but I am not going to cut that area shorter until it heals because I don’t want to further irritate your skin’.
I had to take a moment to breathe a sigh of relief before he continued. I knew that I could trust him to not make me look like a fool that evening. Ray and those he trusts to cut under his name have restraint, which is something you can’t teach and can only learn from the right teacher.
When I was ready to leave, I took a look in the mirror and smiled. That random dude from the morning suddenly, kind of looked like a model. Hurray!
Thanks Ray! I’ll be back again soon – with friends!WHERE: Ray’s Barbershop 46 Park Place New York, New York COST: Cuts range from $15 to $30 and include a hot towel and neck shave. You can find more information through following Ray’s Barbershop on Facebook and Twitter.
By: Mijon Zulu