Wednesday, January 3, 2018

John's Barber Shop


Just a couple of months ago, I wrote about the sudden disappearance of the Mayfair Barber Shop and the move of one of its barbers to John's Barber Shop on the underground mezzanine of the 42nd Street and 8th Avenue subway station.

Now we hear from reader Ken that John's Barber Shop has disappeared -- along with two other neighboring small businesses. Ken called John and reports: "He closed the shop because it became too expensive and no longer cuts hair. Bad for the city and bad for my hair."

What does that mean about the closure of the other shops? Does "too expensive" mean rents were hiked or leases not renewed?

photo from Ken

Before moving to this spot in 1997, John Drakakis worked with his brother Nick in another subterranean spot, in the subway station entrance at the northeast corner of 42nd and 8th. As the Times reported in 1995, "In 1993 the Transit Authority, citing security and maintenance problems, sealed the gate from the passageway to the subway track below. Pedestrian traffic plunged. All the merchants except the barbershop closed."

The site then became part of the Times Square hyper-gentrification project, and the barbershop was forced to close, "demolished to make way for an entertainment center." John had worked in the shop for 39 years.

New York Times, 1995

Nick moved to a little spot at 349 West 44th (he's still there). In 1997, John opened his shop on the subway mezzanine, mostly under the Port Authority bus station. It's an out of the way location, and business started slow, but it built up over the years.

Every time I walked past, John was busy with a customer.

Just last year, he got redecorated by ad agency Mother New York, who replaced his 1980s-looking hairdo posters with new shots.

1 comment:

Jesse said...

I have been to both. Nick was more entertaining. I should go for a another visit soon.