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2023-11-08 00:00:00 Avenue Magazine For Men on the UES, Barber Moses Rubinov Cuts Through the Competition

For Men on the UES, Barber Moses Rubinov Cuts Through the Competition

The hair apparent

Well-heeled and often demanding business titans (and their sons) have been fiercely loyal to master barber Moshe “Moses” Rubinov for years. At just 32, Rubinov — who is tall, lean, and handsome — is the star barber of the Upper East Side, with clients like Michael J. Fox who’s been sitting in his chair for over six years. After a year toiling in accounting at Pepsi, Rubinov — recently married with a small child — joined Paul Molé, the old-world barbershop on East 74th Street which opened in 1913. “It was very hard for me to sit in a box all day at Pepsi,” Rubinov confesses. “I need to see people and interact. And I could make more money cutting hair than I was at Pepsi.”

Barber Moses Rubinov opens shop on the Upper East Side

But recently, the venerable Paul Molé has become a hotbed of scandal and legal warring. Longtime owner Adrian Wood and onetime romantic and business partner Susan Rooney sharpened their scissors and sued each other. After a protracted and ugly lawsuit, Paul Molé closed shop. Rubinov, Paul Molé’s favorite barber, had been itching to break out on his own. The timing was perfect: he left Paul Molé a month before they were evicted. With the help and guidance of a mentor, he opened his own business just three blocks away on Lexington Avenue, taking over Delta Men’s Hairstylists. Rubinov kept the name (the previous owners were Greek) but completely renovated the space, which first opened in 1963. “It was full of mirrors and looked old,” he says, sitting in the new shop which has a masculine, minimalist black, white, and gray color scheme. “We wanted it modern and clean.” Rubinov lured over four barbers, one of whom, Guido, had been at Paul Molé for 25 years. And, with his all-star team of barbers, came the loyal customers. “All the clients came here,” he reports proudly with a beaming smile. “They love the new place. We have more barbers than chairs.” Delta, like the old Paul Molé, has always been a go-to snip shop for boys from Buckley and Trinity and other local schools. “We get three generations now,” Rubinov reports. “The grandfather, the father, and the son.”

By early afternoon, Delta is literally buzzing, every chair occupied. Rubinov, who wears a tie every day, darts his eyes left and right and mentions there are plans to expand. “I want the option of offering private rooms. A lot of clients want to get their haircut and don’t want to be seen by anyone.”

So often men find a barber they like and trust and stick with them for life. (Rubinov gets his own dark-brown locks cut by a cousin in Long Island who he’s been going to since he was 13.) “The most important thing in this business is to listen to what the client wants. My clients come back because I’m detailed.” Rubinov understands the key to enduring success is that diehard customer. He starts cutting the hair of a man in a tailored navy-blue suit who gets a trim every two weeks like clockwork. “I must cut hair,” Rubinov declares, like a call to arms. “Most of my clients come here for me, not for my barbershop. I’ll lose them if I don’t take care of them.”

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