Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Strangely New York: I Wonder Whether They'd Take a Bald Eagle

Jean Romano Barber Shop New York City Zulu Parrot
Zula keeps an eye on you.
By Mitch Broder

Fall arrives next week, and everybody knows what that means:

 Jean Romano Barber Shop New York City Sunny Parrot Jean Romano Barber Shop New York City Sunny Parrot
So does Sunny.
You’d better get over to the barber’s if you want to see the parrots on the sidewalk.

The parrots are Sunny and Zula, who live outside Jean Romano Barber Shop, but only when it’s nice out, because at 50 degrees you’ve got yourself cold parrots. Otherwise they live inside with the shop’s two dozen other birds. You could always see them in there, but you’d be encouraged to get a haircut.

So this is the time to see them with no strings attached, if you can ignore the water-cooler bottle requesting donations for parrot food. All right, it’s tough in this city to find something for nothing. But it’s getting tough in any city to find parrots outside a barbershop.

Jean Romano Barber Shop New York City Vintage Destination
Jean Romano has been various barbershops since 1973, but it’s been a tonsorial aviary for only about two years. As Mike Malakov, one of the managers, tells it, they started with a pet canary. That canary marked the place as a wayside inn for the winged.

A woman who herself had to fly to London asked if they’d like to watch her canaries. When she decided to move to London she asked if they’d like to keep her canaries. A precedent established, other people proceeded to drop off their canaries. Eventually the barbers gave up and started to breed their own canaries.

Jean Romano Barber Shop New York City Bird Cages
Meanwhile, the canaries were joined by parakeets, finches, cockatiels, and parrots. The parrots, being the biggest, were awarded the best view. Still, they bite, which is why there are signs on the cage that say “Please Don’t Touch/ Birds Bite Hard.” So naturally, people stick their fingers in and get bit hard.

But they accept it, Mike says, just as the people in the barber chairs accept the fluttering little birds in the indoor cages.

“Everybody loves them, knock wood,” he says. “Nobody’s complained yet. They like having the birds around. It’s relaxing.”


  1. What a fun place Mitch! It must be a very interesting place in terms of chatter they make all day. Did the place make you want to 'wing it' all and get birds of your own?! Thanks!

  2. It's such a treat to see each new discovery! Who else would find a barbershop that also caters to birds? ...and,who else would know to point out that "it's getting tough in any city to find parrots outside a barbershop." Thanks for the smile.

  3. I think I saw this shop on Animal Horders. Maybe they cut hair to the beat of the chirps? What a melody of scissors snipping and birds chirping, or should I say cacophony?