A good barber speaks, but never talks. This means he tells you stories, but never tells your story - like a priest or a minister. But perhaps you trust him even more, as he is the only one you will allow to take a straight razor to your neck or head, or scissor around your ears. Your appearance is in his hands and you even pay him.
A quintessential example is Chris Christodoulo, the owner of the State Tower BarberShop. Christodoulo is believed to be the last licensed (male) barber in downtown Syracuse. If anyone knows another, please step forward, as Christodoulo is retiring at the end of this week on Aug. 28.
He is not selling his business as the building is for sale, but still he's hanging up his scissors. Oddly enough the State Tower Barber is actually located across the street under the long tall shadow of its namesake on East Water Street. Christodoulo was originally in the basement of the State Tower, but he felt his business was suffering because of the lack of a street-front. He was right as his business doubled when he moved across the street.
Longtime customer, now friend, Jay Bernhardt came in for his last cut on Friday Aug. 21. He started going to Christodoulo in 1970 when his barbershop was located at Hancock Airport. The two reminisced about old times at the airport and all the locations where Christodoulo worked including his hometown of Brooklyn. He moved to Wall Street next, then he came upstate drawn by the fresh water.
His first stops were in Waterloo and Geneva. And let's not forget the world, as Christodoulo was in the Navy for four years. He said, you should try cutting hair on a ship.
Some of his ports of call included Mimosa, the Mediterranean, Beirut, Lebanon, the Rock of Gibraltar, Naples, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, South Africa and even the Great Lakes when President Dwight Eisenhower hosted Queen Elizabeth.