The top ten mustaches in New York City history

In honor of Movember, we rank the top ten finest mustaches New York City has ever seen, from historical handlebars to modern walruses

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  • Photograph: ZUMA Press

  • Chester A. Arthur

  • Keith Hernandez

  • Photograph: ZUMA Press

    Gene Shalit

  • Photograph: Library of Congress

    Theodore Roosevelt

  • Groucho Marx

  • Photograph: Library of Congress

    Thomas Nast

  • John Jacob Astor III

  • JD Samson

Photograph: ZUMA Press

Happy Movember, mustache lovers! In honor of November, the upper-lip-scratchiest month of the year, we’ve ranked the top ten mustaches in New York City’s long, hairy history. From Theodore Roosevelt to the Mets’ Keith Hernandez, here are Gotham’s greatest cookie dusters.

1. Chester A. Arthur

Due to the 21st President’s ties to the New York political machine, everyone assumed his time in office would be fraught with corruption. No twirlable villain whiskers here, though: Arthur ended up presiding over one of the more respected administrations in U.S. history—and its most respected ’stache-burns.

2. Keith Hernandez

The former Mets first baseman’s majestic nose tickler vies for the title of greatest-ever New York sports mustache alongside greats like Don Mattingly, Patrick Ewing and Stephon Marbury. But Hernandez’s manly painter’s brush is far and away the most illustrious. Sadly, when his contract with Just for Men ended last year, he shaved it off to raise money for an Alzheimer’s center in Brooklyn. Well, we guess if it’s for a good cause…

3. Gene Shalit

For decades, the longtime Today show film critic has been instantly recognizable by his Afro, his colorful bowties and his zany, untamable facial hair. He retired from television in 2010 at the age of 84, but as of yet there is no heir apparent to his more-than-apparent hair.

4. Theodore Roosevelt

“Speak softly and grow an intense walrus mustache.” T.R.’s famous adage went something like that, right? William Taft, his onetime protégé, successor and eventual rival, rocked a pretty impressive specimen himself, but it was Roosevelt who truly paved the way for American mustache exceptionalism.

5. Groucho Marx

A fifth of the Marx Brothers was responsible for 100 percent of the quintet’s facial hair. While Groucho’s is generally considered one of the more iconic cookie dusters in history (heck, it has its own novelty glasses), the reality is that it was painted on with grease, per his vaudeville upbringing. Later in life, he sucked it up and grew a real one.

6. Thomas Nast

Legendary 19th-century political cartoonist Thomas Nast was many things, including an abolitionist and the man who brought down Boss Tweed. Born in Germany, he made his home and career in New York. He was also, it turns out, a man who took painstaking facial grooming very, very seriously.

7. Joe Namath

The then–Jets quarterback was captured on the cover of a 1968 Sports Illustrated in one of the most famous sports photos ever, staring off into the middle distance and rocking a full-on horseshoe. Powered by the ’stache, Namath led his team to victory the next month over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.

8. John Jacob Astor III

Yo, John Jacob Astor IV and John Jacob Astor V, I’m really happy for you, Imma let you finish, but John Jacob Astor III had the best John Jacob Astor facial hair of all time…the best John Jacob Astor facial hair of all time!

9. Walter Cronkite

During his nearly two decades of anchoring the CBS Evening News, this legendary journalist became known as “the most trusted man in America.” That made his eminently reasonable mouthbrow, by extension, the most trusted mustache in America.

10. William Poole

The chief figure of the Know Nothing movement was the inspiration for Daniel Day-Lewis’s Bill the Butcher in Scorsese’s 2002 film, Gangs of New York. The Bowery Boys leader’s handlebar might not have been quite as impressive as Lewis’s, but were he alive today, Poole’s reputation as a bare-knuckle boxer would likely prevent anyone from comparing it too unfavorably.

Honorable mention: JD Samson

MEN frontwoman, Le Tigre member

Honorable mention: Patrick Waldo

Nightlife impresario Patrick Waldo (a.k.a. Moustache Man): Mustache-drawing street artist



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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

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