A Constant in a Changing Neighborhood Is Endangered

A Constant in a Changing Neighborhood Is Endangered


For 60 years, Claudio Caponigro’s hole-in-the-wall barbershop on East 116th Street has been an East Harlem landmark, with generations of men taking turns in one of the shop’s three ancient peppermint-color chairs, receiving his tender ministrations among leather strops and bottles of Jeris hair tonic.

It has become a beloved museum of the old-fashioned barber trade, attracting political leaders, entertainers and underworld bosses who mixed with the neighborhood’s declining corps of Italian men, as well as the generations of Puerto Rican and other Latino men who have displaced them.

Even the price he charges is antique — $10 a haircut.