Four of the six rowhouses in the 2000 block of Greenmount Ave. in Baltimore are boarded shut. A disheveled man nurses a bottle on the front steps of one of the houses. Plastic bags float like tumbleweeds in the swirling little eddies created by the traffic that rushes by.
But stop in at No. 2003, where a tiny red, white and blue pole still spirals, and meet a man who has maintained an oasis of welcome since 1955.
Bernard Bacon, 88, known to generations in East Baltimore as "Mr. B.," stoops over a customer, wielding a straight razor with the sure, measured strokes of a portrait painter.
How, a visitor wonders, has he kept the tiny Petite...