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Tag Archives: barber

Ciao, Johnny Shoes

Johnny Shoes (photo courtesy Stefano Salimbeni)

“È finita la canzone,” the song is over: it was the first quote by Johnny Shoes Cammarata that I ever put on television; many more followed. The year was 1998, and I — 31 and hungry for the spotlight — had just begun telling Italian and Italian American stories for RAI, the Italian national TV network I still work for today; Johnny, then in his mid-sixties, was already in a nostalgic mode, constantly looking back to the ‘good old days’ when “everyone knew everyone” in Boston’s North End and “you could leave the doors open”… all that jazz old timers ...

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Gino Colafella: The Mayor’s Barber with Big Shoes To Fill

gino-colafella3

After his lifetime partner officially retired, North End barber Gino Colafella talks of his shop and the neighborhood that, over 40 years, has passed in front his eyes and reflected itself in his mirrors. “In a few months I lost both the mayor of Boston and the mayor of Hanover street,” says Gino Colafella, holding a black and white picture from twenty years ago of him and former business partner Johnny (“Shoes” – a nickname earned for being a shoemaker’s son) Cammarata giving a newly elected Thomas Menino his first haircut as a mayor of Boston. He laughs, but for ...

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