We stopped outside The King’s Chamber Barber Shop near Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn. “Hmm,” we considered what was the significance of the name and the logo with a crown on a cross above scissors. The owner Anthony Austin came out to see what we were doing and explained his business.
“In everything…one should honor the King. The cross with the crown says ‘Jesus is King,” and the scissors speaks of the field in which He is honored, barberry,” he said. He and his sister have operated this beautiful barber shop for the last three years.
Some years ago, I remember the delight that I had watching Alejandro in his East Harlem barbershop point to the various Biblical proverbs that he had tacked up on his walls to illustrate his advice to customers. Since Alejandro left to retire in Puerto Rico, I have missed such a rich physical, spiritual and social texture in getting my haircuts. Then, I discovered King’s.
The place has a special atmosphere and is a real treat to visit. The music is faith-themed, the conversation uplifting and the walls are covered with Austin’s paintings of Scriptural applications to his moment of spiritual crisis a few years ago. The barber’s conversation is thoughtful about life and work.
Austin explained his design philosophy. “We are trying to create an atmosphere where you hear the Word of God. A lot of the impact is made silently” through music, art, and wholesome conversation. The barbershop and salon features a sign, “no cursing and unwholesome talk here.”
The Flatbush area is remarkable for the number of faith-based businesses there. The enterprises range from restaurants (we tried two!), to dress makers (we looked), to music and bookstores (we came away with free samples!) and the barbershops and beauty salons. Some of the stores have church meetings in the back with pews, organ and pulpit all set up. In Midwood, which is right next door, there all sorts of Judaic music and book stores from which we carted off a selection of what we were assured are “the best cantors in the city.”
If you want to try out The King’s Chamber Barber Shop, give Anthony Austin and his sister a call. They are open Monday through Saturday and closed every 2nd Tuesday.
The King’s Chamber Barber Shop
1930 Foster Avenue at Nostrand Avenue.
Other faith-based barbershops: