Reader Martin Schneider sends us this sad news, as originally reported by him in the Brooklyn Heights Press:
Rocco Scali, the legendary hair cutter who served Brooklyn Heights since 1958 and whose regular customers famously included Truman Capote, Arthur Miller and Norman Mailer along with many hundreds of long-time Heights residents, died Sunday, November 26 at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. He was 78 years old. The cause was a sudden attack of liver cancer.
He is survived by his wife Mary, two daughters, Ann Marie and Lisa, a sister Maria, a brother Frank, who lives in California, and six grandchildren Annalisa, Michael, Robert, Alessandra, Christopher, and Marissa. Mr. Scali commuted to work in the arcade at the St. George from his home on Staten Island.
Always known as Rocky to his loyal patrons, his warm-hearted nature and his amiable, chatty, and intelligent conversational style and quiet mastery of skillful haircutting made him the go-to guy for barbering in downtown Brooklyn. His well-thumbed annual calendar book where he listed his appointments was always nearly full and telephoning him hours or even days in advance for a date was the accepted routine.
Never at loss for a conversational gambit, his topics roamed easily from vegetable gardening to cooking, to his family’s many achievements, to the lives of his adored six grandchildren. It also included his recent trip with his brother to check out the standing of the family property on the once obscure island of Pantelleria in the Strait of Sicily. According to Rocky, it seems that Georgio Armani himself has discovered its virtues and now has a place there.
Nine years ago Natalie Brasington, whose photo of Rocky is above, wrote and illustrated a BHB post about Rocky and his barbering partner Thomas LaMarca, who continues his tonsorial magic at the Cutting Den, in the arcade at the Clark Street subway station.