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Naked CityThe Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places$
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Sharon Zukin

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195382853

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195382853.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 June 2021

Living Local in the East Village

Living Local in the East Village

(p.95) 3 Living Local in the East Village
Naked City

Sharon Zukin

Oxford University Press

You’re waiting to meet the Japanese college students at 10 A.M. on the corner of Broadway and Astor Place. It’s a cool and drizzly day in June, passersby are buttoned up against the chill, and at this early hour downtown doesn’t have its usual buzz. When the students show up, you’re surprised to see they’re all young women, led by a middle-aged male professor who has some contacts in the city. They’re excited to be in New York, especially in Greenwich Village, and they whip out their digital cameras when you show them the colored tiles that Jim Power, the otherwise unemployed “Mosaic Man,” has spent the past twenty years gluing onto lampposts in a single-handed effort to beautify the neighborhood. They giggle in soft, high voices when you point out the Japanese pastry shop around the corner. “Beard Papa’s,” you hear them say to each other. They know the name of this chain from home. But they don’t know about local institutions such as Astor Place Hair Stylists, which occupies a basement in the building behind you, with its multiethnic team of eighty barbers who use their old-school expertise with the clippers to style the most eye-catching, gravity-defying Mohawks of the Lower Manhattan punk scene. In the 1980s young men used to make the pilgrimage to Astor’s barbers in the East Village from the suburbs and overseas, walking in with a shaggy mane and walking out with a towering crest, sprayed and lacquered and often dyed an unnatural black or red or green that went much better with their black leather jacket and metal studs. Opened in 1945 by an Italian American barber, the salon is still family owned and run. Now it shares the block with a branch of Cold Stone Creamery, the ice cream chain, Arche, the French shoe store chain, and a big Barnes & Noble bookstore. Neither do the Japanese students know that the Walgreen’s drugstore on the corner was until recently Astor Wines.

Keywords:   Astor Place Hair Stylists, Beats, CBGB (club), East Ninth Street, Greenmarkets, Irish immigrants, Lower East Side, New School University, Park Slope, Seattle

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