3 Long (Haired) Months: Barbershop Before-and-Afters – The New York Times

For the last three months, I’ve spent my Google Hangout work meetings wearing a Yankees cap. Despite being a born-and-bred New Yorker, I am not a Yankees fan at all. But it was the only cap I had in my house to cover my lack of a shape-up, my lack of a haircut, with barbershops in the city closed because of the pandemic.

Those edges that black women talk about keeping on their heads? Mine were gone. I was trying to hide what was left of my receding hairline.

For the last 22 years of my life, I’ve had the same barber. I’ve gone to him once a week; going so often is probably one reason I no longer have hair. And even though I’m going bald, I’ve never stopped going to my barber and paying him the $20 a week for a haircut. Friends tell me to just cut my own hair. But it’s deeper than that.

When people talk about the relationship between people of color and their barbers, they tend to forget that it’s not just that they raise your self-esteem and help you look good — they are people you can also share your life with, and who can share their life with you. And they aren’t your typical friend. They don’t come out with you to the bar. You may never go on a guys’ trip with them. You have those friends. But your barber is your part-time therapist, and sometimes you are his.

About a few weeks into quarantine, my barber, Jimmy, texted me a picture of his hair all over the place and a growing gray beard. I showed him my best attempt at a James Harden impersonation with my own beard. We had joked around then about becoming gray and old before we’d ever see each other again.

Finally, a few weeks ago, he told me that he was back to taking clients. He didn’t tell me that I would be getting my hair cut while sitting on a stool outside on the curb a few blocks from my apartment in Inwood. I was grateful for the cut, but I’m looking forward to getting back in a proper chair like the rest of my fellow New Yorkers.

And don’t worry: Jimmy wore a mask.

Here’s what some New Yorkers had to say about getting their hair cut on Monday, when barbershops around the city officially opened their doors as part of Phase 2 of reopening.


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Credit…Photographs by Laylah Amatullah Barrayn for The New York Times

— Brandon Evans

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— Troy D. Johnson

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— Jason Bruno

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— Samuel Branch

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— Danielle Magette


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Credit…Photographs by Elias Williams for The New York Times

— Cooper “Smitty” Smith, owner of Hollywood Barber Shop

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— Beulah Lewis

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— David Rhymes

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Credit…Photographs by September Dawn Bottoms/The New York Times

— Miles Martinez, owner of Tuft NYC, was hospitalized for Covid-19 in March.

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— Matthew Cortez

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Credit…Photographs by James Estrin/The New York Times

— Anthony Ferraro

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