When we moved to increasingly trendy East Passyunk Avenue four years ago, we were delighted by the great classic shops still in the mix: The King of Jeans. Frankie’s on the Avenue. Tom’s Prime Meats.
Then, one by one, they disappeared.
“DON’T IT ALWAYS SEEM TO GO….”
Still, one of our favorite storefronts – A Man’s Image – remained, its eye-catching sign visible a block away. And, oh, those windows, lovingly updated for every occasion….
(Windows decorated for Valentine’s Day 2016, top and bottom left, and an “everyday” sale window from fall, 2015.)
That’s why we mourned when the “Going Out of Business” signs appeared in March.
(Continued from Monday, March 14. Click here to see Part 1…)
When word got around that South Philadelphia nightclub musician John Valente, Sr. had a local barbershop, visiting stars began dropping in.
(John the Barber, Jr. reflected in a shop mirror below photos of his –
and his dad’s – famous customers.)
Soon John, Sr. and John, Jr. (who joined his dad full-time after graduating from St. John Newmann High School in 1959) began cutting the hair of South Philadelphia celebrities like singers Bobby Rydell and Al Martino; comedians Guy Marks, Al Fisher and Lou Marks….
When I first shared Arthur Tavani’s fabulous mid-1960s photo album, there were local faces that every South Philadelphian recognized: Singers Bobby Rydell, Fabian and Al Martino; boxer Joey Giardello; comedian Guy Marks.
“So who’s the guy in the white coat standing next to your brother and Jerry Vale? A doctor? A dentist?” I asked Virginia Tavani Romano, Art’s sister.
“That’s John the Barber!” she immediately replied.
(From left: South Philadelphia nightlife writer Art Tavani, singer Jerry Vale, John the
Barber, and Phillies relief pitcher Jack Baldschun in John’s shop around 1964.)