Defending the barber of the hill

Everybody’s talking about the new barber on Clinton Street and his neon sign.

The old-fashioned barbershop, which opened at 104 Clinton St. a month ago, offers old-fashioned haircuts, old-fashioned straight-razor hot-foam shaves and an old-fashioned trim for an old-fashioned price.

So what’s with that not-so-old-fashioned sign?

“It’s an eyesore!” one person complained on the Brooklyn Heights blog this week. “It’s “hideous,” said another poster.

Eyesore? Hideous? Aren’t those words typically reserved for really abominable things, like, oh, I don’t know, the Atlantic Yards development that will soon block out all sunlight in Fort Greene?

In other words, can everyone just take a deep breath?

The allegedly hideous sign is actually just a short ticker-style LED-covered mini-marquee that hangs just inside the window. It flashes up information like prices and shop hours in pleasant colors. It’s hardly the seizure-inducing, neighborhood-ruining disco ball some people are making it out to be.

And let’s face it — without the sign, most people would walk right by the below-street-level shop without even noticing. I suppose owner Robert Isakov could have put out an old-fashioned barber pole on the sidewalk — but then people would no doubt complain that it’s in the way.

Isakov, who runs the place with his brother Sergei, says he hasn’t received any complaints about his sign (the whiners have obviously chosen the anonymity of a blog).

“People like it so far. People are happy,” said Isakov, who advertises the place as “a classic barber shop with contemporary attitude.”

Attitude or not, the Clinton Street Barbershop is definitely your father’s Oldsmobile, a place where men can go to bond, talk about sports and politics and complain about their wives — not just a place to get their hair cut.

And with the proliferation of unisex salons, good-old-fashioned barbershops are being slowly phased out. There are dozens of hair salons in the Brooklyn Heights area. There are only three or four barbers.

So if it takes a little flash for passers-by to notice Isakov’s shop, is that really such a big tradeoff for having such a place?

The Kitchen Sink

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Seems like the smell of horse manure is still wafting from Cadman Plaza Park. Residents have been complaining that the odor of fertilizer hasn’t dissipated yet. We hear it’s because the ground wasn’t properly turned before the stuff was laid down. …

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Heights Vision Center on Montague Street is celebrating its 20th anniversary with free glaucoma screenings and big savings on eyeglass frames throughout February. Blink and you’ll miss it, though. …

Brooklyn Law School is hosting a Mardi-Gras fundraiser on Feb. 20 to send law students to New Orleans over spring break to provide legal services for Hurricane Katrina victims. One warning, students: The Big Easy natives aren’t yelling “Show us your torts!” …

Realty giant Massey Knakal has found a new president for its charitable foundation. Jonathan Hageman, 26, is the youngest person to ever hold the post. The outgoing president is taking a position on the board of Brooklyn Children’s Museum. Perhaps that’s where he met the young Hageman.

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