by Catherine Gigante-Brown • photos by alex barreto

House music gently thrums as guests sip crisp glasses of wine on an intimate patio, surrounded by greenery and flowers. Inside, beyond glass doors, are gleaming chandeliers, polished wooden floors, bright creamy walls, and spacious chairs. The setting is at once relaxed and purposeful.

Welcome to ARCO New York, a new, boutique-type salon tucked into bustling Boerum Hill. In marked contrast to the generally cramped quarters of typical neighborhood salons, and particularly their cheek-by-jowl chair arrangements, the impression here is one of a spacious apartment, designed in a modern fashion, into which a salon just happened to be placed.

The business set up shop last summer, and has already made its mark on the old school turned tres chic environs.

“We’ve had a great response from both first-time and existing customers, as well as from the press,” said CEO Emilio Borrego, Jr. “It makes us proud that new clients are turned into loyal, lasting clients, and then even refer their friends to us. A referral is the best compliment we can ever receive!”

With more than three decades of combined expertise, ARCO New York’s team of stylists and colorists are among the best and most creative on the circuit, and the shop’s ultra-modern interior design elements complement the custom amenities studded throughout the chic space.


“For example, the exposed color bar contributes to guests’ total salon experience by showcasing an inviting space where they can actually see their personalized color being formulated,” detailed Borrego.

Another distinct feature is the atmosphere of relaxation that prevails. It’s evident even at the shampoo bowls, where guests are treated to full body pampering courtesy of massaging shampoo chairs and aromatherapy hot towel treatments. There are also five hair styling stations and three hair color stations, not to mention the tropical oasis outdoor garden.

There’s a full menu of hair and spa services on hand—from color, highlights, cuts, natural hair and hair extensions to invigorating treatments like deep conditioning masques.

A point of noticeable pride is that ARCO uses Oribe Hair Care products, developed by stylist visionary Oribe Canales, a visionary described in his on-line bio as, “one of the first American hairstylists to…work with photographer Steven Meisel and makeup artist Francois Nars on the invention of the supermodel, and the rise of one-name wonders like Christy, Linda and Naomi.”

The salon’s designers seem to apply a Canalesesque improvisational skill for creating individualized images that clients often hadn’t even imagined. Its prices are competitive and the service is geared for both men and women.

The result has been solid business from the start. Owner Gary Levin was born and raised in Brooklyn. Opening his first salon here (at age 19, no less), he is focused on giving back to the vibrant,

ARCO’s moniker pays homage to owner Gary Levin’s father’s contracting business of the same name. “I wanted to carry on the family business but in a different industry,” explained Levin. “An industry of big hair, glamour, and fashion.”

growing neighborhood. At an early age, Levin knew he was destined for a career in beauty, and his crash-course began as he partnered with top industry stylists at Aveda and Redkin, later moving quickly up the ranks at New York City’s most notable salons. After beauty school, Levin also pursued an editorial career in fashion, specializing in women’s hair styling and men’s grooming for fashion magazines and advertising businesses. Missing the camaraderie of salon life, Levin returned, however, working briefly for Glamvie before realizing his vision of opening a luxury boutique salon and making his mark as a colorist and stylist.

“Arco,” which is a musical term for “with a bow,” pays homage to Levin’s father’s contracting business of the same name. “I wanted to carry on the family business but in a different industry,” explained Levin. “An industry of big hair, glamour, and fashion.”

What also sets ARCO New York apart from other salons is a blessed lack of attitude. “Here, you get the luxury, glamour, and chic-ness of a Manhattan salon with a non-pretentious approach,” said Borrego, who’s managed prestigious upscale salons and day spas in the Houston area and locally over the course of his career.

Borrego’s enthusiasm about the business is infectious, an attitude that extends to the staff.

“We’re all thankful for our success, to be sure, but also believe it’s our duty to dedicate time and energy to make a difference as well, he added.” To that end, the business is ever examining how it can partner best with local organizations through various philanthropic endeavors.

Levin, for his part, aspires to carry on the family business name for another 20 years, and beyond. “My dream is to revolutionize the industry,” he offered with a grin.

Arco New York Boutique, Lounge, Salon & Spa
385 Atlantic Avenue
718.522.1519 /