I go to someone in Queens..in Sunnyside. Now mind you, I used to go to Curlisto when I could afford it and loved the way my hair was done there. But at over $100, my hunt began for a place near home. The place I go to, Peter's Impressions, is by no means the most glamorous place. However, I went on a lark (it's a block or so from my apartment) after having a horrible experience with a cut that needed to grow out. Peter himself cut my hair. Is he a wiz with curls? No. He's cut my bangs too short more than once...lol...But he knows how to get volume without creating a cut that grows out to the dreaded mushroom head. He will use a diffuser upon request and he gets the job done. You just have to be CLEAR about what you want done. I have shoulder length super fine hair that is somewhere between a 3A and
3 B. I pay less than $50, but I don't know if that's because my hair is short. I would imagine it might cost more if your hair is longer. I actually have an appointment with him this Saturday morning :-)
I've been seeing Christian at Gemini 14 for several years. They're located on West 14th St., near Seventh Ave. His price is $75. I think there are discount coupons available on Yelp and Facebook. He always does a wonderful job on my 2C/3A, shoulder length hair. They also use a rewards card, the Belly Card. So, you can build up points and use them for free services.
Or, you could try the Aveda Institute on Spring St. where they have students, and an instructor is always nearby, so you don't have to worry. Prices are very low, but it may take a bit to book an appointment.
And, there's a small salon on W. 8th St. called Le Mino. I've had good cuts there, but not sure about his pricing.