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.

















Peter's Hair-Styling

1129 First Avenue (64th/65th)

10 comments:

Roger_Paw said...

Wonderful story, thank you!

onemorefoldedsunset said...

Thanks. It was such a nice impromptu meeting.
I wish you still allowed comments on your blog - I've wanted to say something so many times. Your photography is amazing. Oh & I still have to send you that T.H.White book, Goshawk, some time!

Goggla said...

What a great story. Those unexpected experiences can make for the best memories.

-K- said...

Eighty-five!!!!

Marty Wombacher said...

I loved this post! That last photo is great! I'll definitely get my next haircut in there and tell him you sent me!

onemorefoldedsunset said...

Thanks guys. Do go in, Marty!

Gary said...

I live in the historic complex that houses this storefront. First Ave. Estate which began in 1898 & added buildings onward toward York till 1912 or so. Please come back & take pics of some of the ornate doorway mantles (or get into the alley in the center for a truly unique inner block long courtyard...pushcarts used to set up in there back in the day.) Before Peters came in there it was a luncheonette that had a $.99 breakfast special which included a little coffee & a tiny OJ along with the egg, potatoes & toast. Go figure? We're talkin' 1980's here. You might wanna also appreciate Goldbergers Pharmacy on the corner of 65th. The neon signs (along with the Cork & Barrel Liquors signs in-btwn 63/64 are left-over marvels!

onemorefoldedsunset said...

Thanks so much, Gary! I really appreciate a response from someone so knowledgeable. I was just a walker-by, but love finding out more information. Wish I'd had a chance to try that luncheonette back then. I will definitely come back and take more pictures, & see if I can get into the alley. Yes, I did see the Cork & Barrel sign - a beauty!

Anonymous said...

I awarded Nat that Oscar statuette seen in the photo on his counter about 10 years ago! He's a great barber and looking wonderful for 87 now! - Mr. Steve

onemorefoldedsunset said...

Fantastic! I'm so glad the statuette is in the picture, and that Nat is doing well. I had such a great time talking with him. Thank you so much for this update!