Text and Photographs by Stephen Harmon
There are many, many barber shops on the Upper West Side, and everyone has their favorite. For some, it’s because of the skill of the barber or the barber’s banter. For some, it’s because of the look of the shop or the convenient location or reasonable prices.
My barber shop — the Amsterdam Barber shop — is unique. It has been in business in the same location — the east side of Amsterdam Avenue between 73rd and 74th Streets — for 108 years, since 1914.
It has had five owners, including the current one, Maria Shakhmurov. Maria came here in 1995 from Uzbekistan, as did my barber, Vlad. She worked in the shop from 1996, cutting men’s, women’s and children’s hair, until she bought it in 2004.
It’s my barber shop because of Vlad’s skill — he gives a true European haircut and beard trim, with a razor and hot towel – and his pleasant personality, and because of the look of the shop with its 100-year-old barber chairs.
This is a barber shop that serves the UWS community. It employs 4 barbers and is open 7 days a week and has senior discount prices on Monday and Tuesday. When I get my haircut and beard trim, it is pure Heaven!
I like the Barber Shop on 80th — tucked into a little basement, with friendly barbers who do a really good job, for a fair price. Mark does a great haircut. And the other thing about them is that they’re great with kids — they joke around, make it all seem not scary, and do a good job. It’s been my go-to for years.
I agree. I’ve been using Mark for years and have always been pleased. And his charge is reasonable.
I used to go there but their shtick grew to be a bit too much for me – at first I thought they were funny (and did good haircuts) but then I decided to move on.
Mark has been my go-to guy since he opened in the neighborhood…what…10 years? Fast, efficient, remembers what you like, friendly.
Mark refuses to wear a fack mask….I will never go there again & I don’t like his pro trump stance
He talks a little too much for my liking. I get a haircut to relax, not answer a hundred questions.
Big fan of Alex + Ruben – they run the Universal Barbershop (112th + Broadway) and Columbia Barbershop (122nd +Broadway) and the Elite Barbershop (92nd +Amsterdam) – though call ahead and find out where they are, varies day to day. They’re both wonderful musicians — Alex is a YouTube sensation with 2.5m views for his beautiful musicianship on the clarinet. (Search for Alexander Khafizov).
Alex has been cutting my hair for 20+ year, always makes me look great! I think he’s only at 92 St on Sundays, at his brother Reuben’s place near Columbia other days. Call first. And yes, Alex is an amazing conservatory-trained clarinetist.
Elite on 92nd and Amsterdam cuts EveryOne’s EveryAge hair, and very reasonably priced! My favorite person there is Marilyn.
Agreed! Ruben has been my barber for years and I’m a loyal customer. He’s a skilled and meticulous barber. I wouldn’t let anyone else near my hair.
Been happy with Reamir on Columbus and 74th for years and years.
I remember the original owner,Frankie, the Italian gentleman. He passed away over 20 years ago, and lived in the same building as the barber shop.
I believe he opened the business on that spot when he immigrated from Sicily in the 1950s. The same time period, Lenny opened the Pioneer supermarket on W74th.
There’s a barber there –usually one of the last chairs. Never listens to what I want. Last time I went there he was alone in a foul mood. Never should have stayed. Awful experience. Had been going there for years. Found new place.
I’m a regular at Reamir. Great guys!
Me too — going here monthly for 15 years.
This would be a more convincing endorsement, perhaps, if we had a photo of the author after his haircut!
Juanito’s on 102 and Broadway. I left the UWS for the Midwest 6 years ago and I miss my Dominican barber, bagels, Chinese food, pizza, and Dino park with my kids.
This is my barber shop! Maria is wonderful. I always look forward to my visit and wholeheartedly recommend this terrific establishment
Dimitri at Reamir on Columbus between 74 & 75!
My favorite UWS Barber shop is new entry Japanese style- Masa-Kanai at 570 Columbus Avenue, near 88 Street. Great people, great haircuts, not old style but new style.
Mariya has been cutting my frizzy mop since 2012, just 2 weeks before I left for Uzbekistan ! On my return it was fun to share impressions of that country with her. As curly heads know, it is a joy to find a hairdresser who keeps us looking well-trimmed!
Home is my favorite where I shave my bald head for nothing.
I like the Central Park Barber, just east of 72nd St entrance, at the lake.
Great cuts, friendly, great conversations if you wish.
My favorite, for years, was Tony’s Barber Shop on 72nd street between West End & B’Way, on the north side of the street, as long as Bernardo was cutting hair there. Then Tony sold his place to two guys from Russia and Bernardo moved to Amsterdam Barber Shop on Amsterdam between 73rd & 74th year. I moved with him. Bernardo is an artist hair sculpture. The best I ever saw. Then at the end of 2021 the owner of the shop basically terminated him, making room for a family member. Alas, I no longer go there either, but I take the ride to Larchmont, where Bernardo works. The trip is wort it. Bernardo is still the master Cutter.
I like the Central Park Barber, just east of the 72nd street entrance, at the lake.
Great cuts, good conversation, if you wish, best setting, but weather dependent.
I like the place on Columbus below 85th. I don’t even remember the name, I just always go there.
My go to guy is Sharky at iStyle on Broadway across the street from Zabar’s
Excellence barbers on Amsterdam Ave was a great find for me after looking for years for a good Barber. Alan has now moved to their new location on 81st Street and Broadway and they still retain the same name. Reasonable prices into a great old school haircuts either by scissor cut or with the machine. The difference between a good haircut and a bad haircut is 2 weeks they say but I’ve never had to wait the two weeks with Alan at excellence barbers.
I just switched to them and have been very pleased with my last three haircuts.
alan is terrific does my hair too at 81st & B Way..very personable and good haircut
i have been happily seeing Marilyn at different places for years. She is at Elite Barber Shop Unisex Hair Salon on Amsterdam round 92nd street.
OK. We can’t forget …Boutique Barbers ( used to be Reamir ) on 72nd between Broadway and west end ,South side about halfway down the block !
Alex is the owner …and his son plus 2 others rotate this 2 chair business !!!
Have been going to Alex since they opened and years before in the same spot !
Alex is a master craftsman /barber and I totally trust him completely!!! He’s wonderful !!!
Been going here for years! So has my brother and dad.
This has been my barber shop since 1984. I adore Maria and Vlad.
I can’t believe men still go to barber shops. I bought hair clippers 10 years ago and have cut my own hair since. Try it. It’s easy.
My vote goes for Elegant Barberhop on 72nd between Columbus and Amsterdam. I first went to Reamir on 72nd, but got sick of waiting outside on the sidewalk, then found Bernardo at Amsterdam, but he was let go (bad move, Amsterdam) so I moved onto Elegant. Great haitcut and … THEY GIVE YOU A SHOT OF WHISKEY (or whatever else you eat).
I have been going to Amsterdam Barber Shop since 1990. My original barber, Andy, used to cut hair at the barber shop that once existed next door to the original Blondie’s at the NE corner of 77th and Broadway. He relocated to Amsterdam Barber Shop in the late 1980s. Maria and her staff run a good business and are liked by the community. She also cuts women’s hair.
I love Excellence on Amsterdam right before 83rd. It’s always busy but the quality of the cut is exquisite (and affordable!)
Frank who works at Reamir on Columbus in the 80s is an experienced, courteous, and attentive barber who takes pride in his work. He’s also the only barber my wife approves of – he always gets it right (by her standards, after all she’s the one who has to look at me all day). If you’re looking for somebody new, I def recommend him.
Yes, Marilyn at Elite on Amsterdam is the best. I have followed her from the barbershop on Broadway to her current spot and have never had a bad cut. Reasonable price, excellent results.