Inside Brooklyn’s Secret Barbershop

Blair Pfander
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Inside Brooklyn’s Secret Barbershop
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Chris DeSanty—founder of The Iron Society, a private, appointment-only hair studio and barbershop in Greenpoint, Brooklyn—runs a gentlemanly operation.
With black and white tiled floors, antique baubles, dusty old books and the odd touch of taxidermy, DeSanty’s inviting workspace is a far cry from the typical stark, antiseptic-looking hair salon.
Now, with a new line of his own beeswax pomades—scented with a combination of vanilla and coconut—DeSanty is fully equipped to get New York gents looking their most dapper.
We are all too familiar with speakeasy bars, and this is very much the barbershop equivalent—DeSanty doesn’t release the address. To make an appointment or to order The Iron Society pomade, visit theironsociety.com.
Click through the slideshow above to go inside this very special space.
Photography by: Robert Bredvad

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Chris DeSanty—founder of The Iron Society, a private, appointment-only studio in Greenpoint—runs a gentlemanly operation. Adorned with antique baubles, dusty old books and even the odd piece of taxidermy, the warm white-and-black tiled space is a far cry from the typical stark hair salon.

Photo: Robert Bredvad/Robert Bredvad

A New Hampshire native, DeSanty worked as a machinist before moving to Florida to study at the Paul Mitchell Cosmetology School. "I wanted to work with people," he explains. "I needed to get out of the isolated dungeon atmosphere of a machine shop. Hair allowed me to continue working with my hands in a more social environment."

Photo: Robert Bredvad/Robert Bredvad

After a stint at Tomcats—a classic mens barbershop on India Street in Brooklyn—DeSanty struck out on his own last year. "I think the name The Iron Society just spoke to my background as a machinist—though we didn't work with iron. Aluminum Society just doesn't have quite the same ring to it," DeSanty jokes. "And I like that society inherently has a kind of secretive appeal."

Photo: Robert Bredvad/Robert Bredvad

If there's one cut DeSanty is known for, it's a short-on-the-sides, long-on-the-top style (not unlike the one Jimmy Darmody's made famous on "Boardwalk Empire"). "I like honing in on one specific thing," he explains. "Maybe sometimes I'm doing the same hair cut over and over, but I like that—at least in New York—you get to focus on a particular thing and get really good at it."

Photo: Robert Bredvad/Robert Bredvad

And make no mistake—DeSanty is very good. The cut may look simple, but requires meticulous buzzing, trimming, and combing for DeSanty to get exactly right.

Photo: Robert Bredvad/Robert Bredvad

Perhaps it's his background in machines that gives DeSanty a keen eye for detail. Here, he cleans up the cut with an old-fashioned straight razor.

Photo: Robert Bredvad/Robert Bredvad

Recently, DeSanty debuted his own pomades, which he makes by hand in small batches at the studio and offers for $15 on his website. While the original formula offers a soft, no-fuss look, DeSanty plans to offer a new edition that will offer extra hold.

Photo: Robert Bredvad/Robert Bredvad

"The pomade isn't meant to make you think, 'Oh, this smells like my grandfather sitting in a bar drinking fifteen-year-old scotch,'" he laughs. "But as long as it reminds you of something kind of nostalgic—that's the primary target." The scent—a subtly sweet combination of vanilla and coconut—is warm without being overwhelming.

Photo: Robert Bredvad/Robert Bredvad

DeSanty also hopes to manufacture his own pocket combs in the near future. "It's not that a pocket comb is anything new, but I want to do something with a really nice leather sleeve," he says.

Photo: Robert Bredvad/Robert Bredvad

Part of the allure of The Iron Society is that it has a secretive quality to it—DeSanty doesn't release the address. To make an appointment or to order The Iron Society pomade, visit theironsociety.com.

Photo: Robert Bredvad/Robert Bredvad

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