Stylist Offers Free Haircuts on Bedford Avenue Corner
WILLIAMSBURG — As Alejandro Gutierrez strolled toward the Bedford Avenue subway station he found a way to spend a few moments of leisure time — getting a free haircut.
"Someone else was sitting in his chair, but I got lucky," Gutierrez said as he wore a pink haircut bib and sat in a makeshift barber chair awaiting his turn with Steven Chu. "It's something different to do...a way to change your everyday life."
Gutierrez, 22, was one of six clients to get a complimentary cut on Thursday from Chu, a visual consultant who took walk-ups across from the subway station during his first foray into outdoor haircutting.
Chu has cut hair since 2008 but chose to branch out to the sidewalk this week to promote a youth apprenticeship program called Hourships that he launched. He hung a sign with Hourships' name above him to draw interest in it.
The program, in which kids are paired up with artists for hour-long apprenticeships, has nothing to do with haircutting, Chu laughed, but by taking the "risk" of cutting hair outside he was warming up for all the risks he would take with his business.
He said he'd likely cut hair on the street again Saturday, noting those interested could check his Twitter page for updates.
And on Thursday, eager clients already plotted to return for the free cuts.
"I don't have any money...and this guy's obviously got some spine. He's brave to be out here," said Floyd Hayes, who sells "Piece of Brooklyn" pebbles of Brooklyn land and said he'd thrown down big bucks for mediocre stylists who attempted to fix the hair on his "weird, peanut-shaped head."
As for Gutierrez, he didn't even need a trim, but he basked in the chance to be styled on the sidewalk.
"I feel great," he smiled. "You know how some things you just can't describe, and it's just a good feeling? That's this."