Meet old­est bar­ber who still cuts hair at 107

AN­THONY MANCINELLI LIVES ALONE, DRIVES TO WORK, COOKS HIS OWN MEALS, WATCHES TELE­VI­SION AND STILL TRIMS THE BUSHES IN HIS FRONT YARD WITH NO HELP

Gulf News - - Front Page - NEW WIND­SOR, NEW YORK BY COREY KILGANNON

An­thony Mancinelli shook out a bar­ber towel and wel­comed the next cus­tomer to his chair in Fan­tas­tic Cuts, a cheery hair sa­lon in a non­de­script strip mall, about an hour’s drive north of New York City.

“Hey, paisan — same as usual,” said John O’Rourke to Mancinelli, who be­gan lay­er­ing O’Rourke’s hair with his steady, snip­ping scis­sors.

“I don’t let any­one else touch my hair,” said O’Rourke, 56, of Corn­wall, New York. “The guy’s been cut­ting hair for a cen­tury.”

Ac­tu­ally, O’Rourke was off by three years. Mancinelli is 107 and still work­ing full time, cut­ting hair five days a week from noon to 8pm. He has been work­ing in bar­ber­shops since he was 11. War­ren Hard­ing was in the White House.

In 2007, at a mere 96 years old, he was recog­nised by Guin­ness World Records as the old­est work­ing bar­ber. Since then, the com­men­da­tions have rolled in — from lo­cal civic groups, elected of­fi­cials and bar­ber­ing com­pa­nies — all con­grat­u­lat­ing him: 100 years, 101, 102 and so on.

Mancinelli just keeps out­dat­ing the awards.

Has all his teeth

The sa­lon’s speak­ers were play­ing hip-hop on a re­cent af­ter­noon. “He’s used to the windup record play­ers,” O’Rourke teased.

Mancinelli has a trim build, a steady hand and a full head of hair, al­beit snow white. He spends much of his day on his feet, in a pair of worn, cracked black leather shoes.

“Peo­ple come in and they flip out when they find out how old he is,” said the shop’s owner, Jane Dinezza.

“He never calls in sick,” she said. “I have young peo­ple with knee and back prob­lems, but he just keeps go­ing. He can do more hair­cuts than a 20-year-old kid. They’re sit­ting there look­ing at their phones, tex­ting or what­ever, and he’s work­ing.”

Asked — for the umpteenth time — about his longevity, Mancinelli of­fered only that he has al­ways put in a sat­is­fy­ing day’s work and he has never smoked or drank heav­ily.

But no, longevity does not run in his fam­ily, and he was never big on ex­er­cise. Di­et­wise, he said, “I eat thin spaghetti, so I don’t get fat.”

I have young peo­ple with knee and back prob­lems, but he just keeps go­ing. He can do more hair­cuts than a 20-year-old kid. They’re sit­ting there look­ing at their phones, tex­ting or what­ever, and he’s work­ing.” Bar­ber­shop owner

He has all his teeth and is on no daily med­i­ca­tion. He has never needed glasses, and his hairstyling hands are still steady.

“I only go to the doc­tor be­cause peo­ple tell me to, but even he can’t un­der­stand it,” he said. “I tell him I have no aches, no pains, no noth­ing. Noth­ing hurts me.”

One rea­son he con­tin­ues to work, he said, is that it helps him stay busy and up­beat af­ter the death of his wife of 70 years, Carmella, 14 years ago. He vis­its her grave daily be­fore work.

Jane Dinezza |

Still works full time

Mancinelli lives alone, not far from the sa­lon in New Wind­sor. He drives to work, cooks his own meals, watches tele­vi­sion — he is a big pro-wrestling fan — and is adamantly self­suf­fi­cient. He still trims the bushes in his front yard with no help.

“He won’t even let any­one sweep up his hair clip­pings,” said his son, Bob Mancinelli, 81, who noted that his fa­ther even gives hair­cuts to him­self.

As Dinezza ob­served, “he shops for him­self, does his own laun­dry, pays his own bills — it’s crazy. He’s just in the right state of mind.” “You hear about all these peo­ple ask­ing, ‘What medicine can I take, what food can I eat, what an­ti­age­ing cream should I use?’” she said, “and he’s do­ing it with none of those things.”

As hair­styles have changed over the decades, An­thony Mancinelli has adapted. “I cut them all,” he said, “long hair, short hair, what­ever was in style — the shag, the Buster Brown, straight bangs, per­ma­nents.”

Some cus­tomers have been com­ing to him for well over 50 years, hav­ing got­ten hun­dreds of hair­cuts.

“I have some cus­tomers, I cut their fa­ther, grand­fa­ther and great­grand­fa­ther — four gen­er­a­tions,” said Mancinelli, who has six great-great­grand­chil­dren.

His son said: “Some of his older cus­tomers, he helps them in the chair. He’ll say to an 80-year-old guy, ‘Lis­ten, when you get to be my age . ... ’ They love hear­ing that.”

Jen Sul­li­van, a stylist who works the chair next to An­thony Mancinelli, is all of 20.

“It’s just amaz­ing that he still works full time,” she said. “Week­ends here can get crazy — even I get tired of be­ing on my feet — but he just keeps go­ing.”

Mancinelli said he was born in 1911 near Naples, Italy, and em­i­grated with his fam­ily when he was 8, join­ing a rel­a­tive in New­burgh, New York.

He was one of eight chil­dren — “I’m the only one left” — and went to work at age 11 in a lo­cal bar­ber­shop. By age 12, he was cut­ting hair and dropped out of high school to cut hair full time.

Back then, a hair­cut cost 25 cents (91 fils at to­day’s rates), he said. Now, a hair­cut from Mancinelli costs $19.

For Mancinelli’s birth­days, the sa­lon closes and gives a party, with food do­nated by the lo­cal su­per­mar­ket.

New York Times

Some of An­thony Mancinelli’s cus­tomers have been com­ing to him for well over 50 years, hav­ing got­ten hun­dreds of hair­cuts.

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