izzos-lisanne

Photo by Lisanne Anderson

Strolling by the 1605 Sheepshead Bay Road storefront recently vacated by Anatolian Gyro (which has moved around the corner to 2623 East 16th Street) will give you a little glimpse into Sheepshead Bay’s commercial history: a portion of the sign from the long-lived Izzo’s Barber Shop is now on display after Anatolian’s sign was pulled down.

I can’t find a certain date for when Izzo’s opened and closed, but it was there for a broad chunk of the mid-20th century, leading up to at least the 1980s, where the storefront (with updated signage) can be seen in a Department of Finance tax photo:

izzos2

I believe it was called Izzo’s Clippers, though it’s hard to say from the photo and it was long before my time.

I pinged reader and local history buff Lisanne Anderson to see if she could help pinpoint the timeframe. She wasn’t sure, but did confirm that it was owned by Peter Izzo, who lived from 1903 to 1984. The Izzos are one of Sheepshead Bay’s anchor families, having been involved in building much of the community throughout the 1900s, and Peter was uncle to the area’s most famous resident, Vince Lombardi.

There’s a plaque dedicated to Izzo, who was apparently known as Mr. Sheepshead Bay, at Bill Brown Square (too frequently incorrectly called Vince Lombardi Square, at East 17th Street and Jerome Avenue).

izzo-lisanne2

Photo by Lisanne Anderson.

Lisanne added that in the shop’s later years, Izzo had hired younger help and only came into the shop to attend to long-time patrons.

Can anyone else fill us in on the history of Izzo’s barber shop? Let us know in the comments!

Update (12:19 p.m.): A little post-publishing research turned up this amusing article from the September 3, 1934, Brooklyn Eagle, in which the 64-member Izzo clan stayed at Peter’s house for a family reunion field day:

izzos

Furthermore, Wikipedia notes that Vince Lombardi’s grandfather, and Peter Izzo’s father, Anthony, opened a barber shop in Sheepshead Bay before the turn of the century. While no address is given, a September 15, 1915, edition of the Daily Eagle notes that Tony’s barbershop was caught up in some illegal betting operations. It gave the address as Shore Road and Jerome Place, the former names for Sheepshead Bay Road and Jerome Avenue, pretty much exactly where the storefront is:

daily-eagle

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  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

    The Izzos, with their extended family, was quite large. And they were notable enough that their family gatherings were newsworthy.

    Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Monday, Sep 3 1934

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

    Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Monday, Sep 3 1934

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

    Oh, you found the article I did.

  • J.M.H

    Glengarry Glen Ross has some footage of the Bay Rd 25 yrs ago…You can even read the Sheepsheadbay sign on the elevated subway

    • BrooklynBus

      I remember when they were filming it. They had a fictitious realty company called Paradise Realty on the north side of Sheepshead Bay Road just above where Chase Bank is now. They also walked across the street to a Chinese Restaurant decorated with a pagoda which was really Wiesen’s Bakery. (The inside scenes were filmed in Astoria Studios.) The pagoda was up for around a month around 1993 and the bakery was open the entire time. I remember walking into what looked like a chinese restaurant from the outside to buy bread in the bakery.

  • Ivan

    So funny to see this talked about; I was staring at the sign for ten minutes the other day trying to figure out what it was. I deduced that it was a barbershop from the missing lettering on the left side. My girlfriend was not as interested, lol. I find old signage intriguing. I believe there are photographers that eat this stuff up, I bet they would love this!