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Downtown's State Tower Barber to retire

"Jay is a good hearted guy, I met him when he was just starting out," Christodoulo said. "Now (he is) top guy, owner, mancho."

The two laughed, "I'm going to have to follow him around in his mobile home," Bernhardt said.

That's the plan, Christodoulo and his partner with the beautiful eyes, Patty Stewart, are heading out in a motor home with their two dogs, Fritzie and Tootsie.

"We want to live and travel to places where the weather is over 40 degrees," Christodoulo said.

They also want to try and stay below 85 degrees, but that might be a little harder, as they do want to come back to Central New York in the summers.

"She's been trying to get me to retire for five years," he said.

From start to finish

So after 54 years at his craft at the age of 70 he's cutting the cord. If you do the math that means he started at the age of 16. It was Frank's BarberShop, where he shined shoes. Frank gave him a pair of scissors and a comb and told him to go home and practice on his six brothers.

"One locked himself in the bathroom," Christodoulo said.

But eventually the practice paid off and he had a chair. Fast forward to Aug. 16 when a retirement party was hosted for Christodoulo at the union hall on West Manlius Street in East Syracuse. He was joined by hundreds of friends, family members and long time customers for a poignant farewell tribute.

Syracuse's Frank Malfitano said, "Chris has been my barber since '98; and I've known him and his son (and former Olympic boxer) Anthony Christodoulou, since my days as a judge in Amateur boxing.

"I'm deeply saddened that Chris is retiring from barbering on Aug. 28, but he's earned the right to a great retirement after 56 years at the chair, so I wish him nothing but happiness in the next chapter of his life. On a personal and professional level, I'll miss him, and I know the city will miss his tonsorial talents terribly. But as the last licensed male barber in downtown, his retirement also marks the passing and end of a historic era in downtown Syracuse, and that saddens me greatly," Malfitano said. "I vividly recall a time when major department stores, pro sports, specialty shops, movie palaces and nightclubs brought life and energy to a great small city, when emporiums such as these lined the main arteries of a once-vibrant city center. I also remember a slew of barbershops, like Chris' that were an integral part of that historic time and scene. For keeping one of the last vestiges of that time and era - when we were an important urban center - alive for the past 30 years, Chris has my lifelong respect and admiration. He's one of my all-time Syracuse heroes."

One last shave

If you've never had a professional shave, you might want to stop in before Christodoulo's last day. They say there is nothing like it. A hot shave was about 10 percent of his business.

Billy Sullivan has been going to Christodoulo for 10 years. He was in for his last shave on Friday Aug. 21. Instead of his beard, he was having his head shaved. As he finished Christodoulo whipped a towel above Sullivan's head to speed up the air-drying.

In considering Christodoulo's retirement Sullivan said, "I'm going to have to grow my hair back."

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