In 1921 Joseph Grammatica my great grandfather arrives in America to find the American dream. A trained barber in Italy he does not speak English and is unable to find work as a barber. Joe gets a job washing dishes at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. He learns the language of his new country and finally he secures a job as a barber at a shop on 28th and 7th Avenue in NYC. He works hard has a family and after more than 15 years in America Joe and his family decide to return to Italy where he builds a home for his growing family.
World War II breaks out in Europe and life is difficult in Italy so Joe makes the decision to return to America where he can work and send money back to provide for his family. Due to the war several years pass before Joe and his family finally are reunited in New York.
In 1951 Joe takes a ride to the country with a cousin who was in the business of delivering coal and ice and he finds himself at the Tappan Coal yard in Tappan NY. Across from the coal yard there is a house for sale, by chance or fate on the front porch of this house is a barber shop sign and barber pole. There my great grandfather saw an opportunity! It was always his hope to be able to move his family to the country which reminded him of his hometown in Italy. He loved to garden, and envisioned land to plant his tomatoes and fig and peach trees. Almost on the spot he approaches the owners of the house with an offer and down payment.
Shortly thereafter Joe and his family move to Tappan and he opens his own barbershop which he calls Central Barbershop. The original shop had a front porch which is where the local patrons entered. Nine years pass, Joe worked hard and saved enough money to begin an 1100 square foot addition and renovation to the original building. In 1961 his project was complete and he moved to the current 3 chair location. With business growing he now had two young nephews working alongside of him.
He ran Central Barbershop until his retirement in 1968 at which time his nephews took over the business. For over forty years they continued the stellar reputation and quality service that their patrons had come to know. Upon their retirement in 2011 the next generation took over. After remodeling and updating a new name was given to reflect the appreciation for the city and state that made so many dreams come true for many Italian American immigrants.
EMPIRE STATE BARBERSHOP BARBERSHOP was established in November 2011 with the mission to honor and respect the trade and traditions that my great grandfather practiced.