4. Claudio the Barber

Claudio the Barber has been a hole-in-the-wall chop shop at 116th Street and First Avenue for more than 60 years. Originally from Salerno, Italy, Claudio Caponigro started working in the East Harlem barbershop in the 1950s and took over the business a decade later. The barbershop has been there since World War I, and the shop’s three ancient, peppermint-colored, vinyl chairs still exist. Now more than 80-year-old, Mr. Caponigro is one of the few Italians who remained after the neighborhood became largely Hispanic. In 2011, gentrification in the neighborhood caused rental pressures which threatened to close the shop. Luckily, a young client came to rescue, offering Mr. Caponigro a storefront just a block down the street. Now fully relocated, the barber shop has updated to modern times, and by that Mr. Caponigro means “First time available by phone in over 60 years!”