Arthur Puopolo, 87; barber’s shop was a step back in time

Jan 04, 2016 553

By J.M. Lawrence

As the sounds of an opera played in his downtown Boston barbershop, Arthur Puopolo sometimes paused mid-haircut, lifted his scissors into the air, and spontaneously joined the tenor in a climactic aria. The scent of hot towels, aftershave balms, and complimentary espresso filled the air at Court Square Styling Shop, where Mr. Puopolo welcomed customers for more than 40 years "in the shadow of the Old State House," as his business card once said.

His shop's client list included Boston Mayor Kevin White, newsman Walter Cronkite, and Boston Pops conductor Arthur Fiedler, as well as average Bostonians who came for an affordable cut and maybe a sample of the homemade wine Mr. Puopolo bottled in his North End cellar. An Army veteran of the Korean War, he also gave free haircuts to homeless veterans, along with snacks that he kept on hand for all his customers: biscotti one day, a dish of sausage and hot peppers another, or salami and fresh Italian bread. Sometimes he slipped a homeless veteran some cash in a handshake, friends said.

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