The name evokes Chief Gramatan, a Native American leader from the distant past before Bronxville was Bronxville (or even anything, really)-but the Gramatan Barber Shop doesn’t go in for rustic or untamed. Still, located just on the threshold of the business district and a hill of quiet residential streets, there’s something just a little old-timey about this quiet barber shop. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s next door to an antiques dealership. Maybe it’s the dignified presence of the middle-to-old-aged Italian men who run the place and share the customers. Maybe it’s the fact that, like any good barber shop, there’s a red, white and blue pole in evidence.
A couple of steps up from the first quiet strip of Pondfield Road, convenient to the train station, the Gramatan will give you a basic haircut for $15 including tip, which is hardly as cheap as it used to be but a steal compared to ï¿½stylists’. It’s worth remembering which barber serves you, as some are more skilled than others; I myself prefer my results with the younger barbers, oddly, rather than those with more experience.
Magazine selection, the unspoken cornerstone of every barber shop visit (whether women understand this or not) runs suitably toward the racy, with “Maxim” and magazines of its ilk unabashedly in evidence, but there’s also a rack of childrens’ books. This is a good thing, as this is a popular place for families with children, being so convenient to the school. There is a child’s chair with a carousel-style wooden horse head affixed to the front, which never fails to make your correspondent smile a little. Just a nice little piece of childhood innocence. Doesn’t mean anything.
The décor is worth mentioning, though; the barbers attach Christmas cards, family pictures, even the occasional photo from customers showing cute newly-haircutted kids. I have no idea what sort of parent actually bothers to give the barber a photograph of their child post-haircut, but it’s cute, right? The facility also employs the mirrors-on-opposite-walls technique for that nice endless tunnel look. It helps pass the time while you’re in the chair.
Curiously, though, there is rarely much of a wait out of the chair. Even when there appear to be lots of people waiting for haircuts, a barber always has time for you. The guys sitting around don’t seem to be there for the conversation, though the barbers will chat if you want them to. They don’t seem to be there to wait for others. They’re just there.
Regardless, the Gramatan Barber Shop offers a haircut at a fair price, by today’s standards, at a real no-frills barber shop with an Italian work ethic rather than hot trends fueling it. And isn’t that the sort of simple pleasure you come to a small town for?