Beloved barber Tony Garofalo dies

September 8, 2020 Jaime DeJesus
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Felice “Tony” Garofalo, who owned Tony’s Park Barber Shop at 4409 Fifth Ave. for more than 50 years, died earlier this week.

He was 85-years-old.

Known to many Sunset Parkers as Tony the Barber, Garofalo bought the store in the 1960s after he emigrated from Italy. He retired and closed the business earlier this year.

The shop, which was known for its vintage setting and a lime tree near the window, was photographed for the book “Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York” by James T. Murray and Karla L. Murray. It was also featured in a Buzzfeed article on “15 Beautiful Pictures Reveal NYC’s Unique Culture of Barbershops.”

photo courtesy James & Karla Murray from their book “Store Front:The Disappearing Face of New York”.

Friends and former customers sang the beloved barber’s praises.

“My father went there all his life,” wrote one Facebook user. “He was 84 years old and Tony also cut my husband’s hair. Since [I was a] teenager, I would sit there and talk to Tony and watch him cut hair. A wonderful man.”

“He was the first man to ever give both my sons their first haircut,” said Vanessa Rivera. “May he R.I.P.”

“The main thing I will miss is his smiling face,” said Tony Giordano. “Whenever he saw a customer passing by, he would give that warm, loving smile. He will be missed.”

“He was an icon in Sunset Park,” said Robert Loughnane. “I told him of a friend of mine whose son had died tragically. He said he had cut the young man’s hair just recently. When I was at the funeral with my friend, he showed up with his wife and paid his respects. I was just floored with emotion that he cared so much for the dad and this young man. He will always be a hero in my book.”

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