Produced and filmed by Martin Blanco, edited by Clayton Stansberry.
A living tradition
“I had a dream to open up a museum,” New York barber Arthur Rubinoff said. “I did not even tell my family, my mom didn’t know. My wife didn’t know. A lot of people ask questions, ‘Why a barber shop museum?’ And ‘Why (am I) so compassionate about this work?’ I think it’s not just a vocation, it’s artistry too.”
Behind the iconic spinning barbershop poles and gilded frames at the NYC Barber Shop Museum are five generations of barbers. Master barber Arthur operates four locations of his New York City barber shop, Reamir & Co., along with his son and wife, who also cut hair.
“I think without our family being like this, closer together like a bunch, for Arthur alone, it will be very hard to be where he is right now,” said Marina Rubinhoff, Arthur’s wife.
“A lot of people try to copy him and I always tell him, ‘Well, Arthur, they don’t understand one thing, that in our family, you’re a barber, I’m a barber, your son is the barber, even your mom knows how to cut hair, so we could always help each other, we could always be there.’