Staten Island hair salon is also art and music studio

- If you book an appointment at the Salon Forte unisex hair salon, you'll likely leave with a lot more than a haircut. Married couple Bart Forte and Lydia Forte-Santiago started their business in the Mariners Harbor section of Staten Island in 1986.

Through the years, it has taken the concept of "barbershop culture" to whole new level. The hair salon is covered in canvases painted by Lydia. If you step into the back room, you can take art lessons from Lydia and listen to Bart play music.

"I always ask the client when they come in I say 'Have you ever in your life been to a salon like this?' And they say 'Never,'" Bart says.

The couple has been married for 36 years. They decided to combine hairdressing with paint and music to fill the slow hours at work.

"Rather than be idle I figure this is a good time for me to paint," Lydia says. "So I brought my easel in and I started to paint."

These days, the two see the salon as a collaboration of art and a place their customers can be anyone they want to be.

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