Sunday, June 10, 2012
Peter's (Scandinavian) Hair-Styling
I was intrigued by the store's billing. When I looked through the window, I could see a couple of snowy scenes on the wall. It was a nice-looking place, with a front waiting area partitioned off from the barber chairs. I tried to be surreptitious, but an elderly figure inside caught sight of me and came to the door. I'm always expecting people to be irked by my nosiness, but this was one of those happy occasions where I served as diversion on a slow afternoon. Nat (his name embroidered on his jacket) ushered me in, sat me down, and told me to hang around a while until the Scandinavian (Peter himself, "from Finlandia") came back from an errand. He would be sure to let me take a picture or two, but it would be best to wait.
Nat is really Ignazio, and he came here from Catania forty years ago. He worked on Third for twenty years, and then moved east. He lives around Bay Parkway, and comes in to work on the train. Ignazio will be eighty-five on June 18th. When I asked him how business was these days he made a a sour face, but seemed resigned to the situation. When I asked what made Scandinavian haircuts special he smoothed his thinning hair with a grin & suggested the difference was minimal. It seemed a trifling topic to him, so we got to discussing other things. Kids, Jesuits, Italy, Coney Island, customers that tipped well, his start in barbering at age fourteen. He was flirty and chatty, and a lot of fun to hang out with.
When Peter finally returned, he looked a bit worn down by the sight of the two of us sitting there, gossiping, but had no problem with me staying around for a bit. "He likes attention, he's such a baby," he muttered indulgently, and disappeared somewhere in back of the shop. Ignazio suggested a shot or two in his chair, and, seated, began to strike formidably grave poses. I coaxed at best a half-smile.
I wish I'd stayed longer, and I wish I'd taken more pictures of the shop itself, but I was a little worried that Peter might get sick of our larking about. It seemed frivolous, but there was no-one waiting around for a trim. Still, it was time to go. I'm sending this photo to Ignazio, along with a couple of others, a card, & birthday wishes. I suggest you visit, go get a haircut (males only) & enjoy the stories. You might get another take on Scandinavian styling, and I'm sure there are wintry Finnish tales to be told. This is a grand barbershop, & Ignazio made my day.
1129 First Avenue (64th/65th)