I step into Bang-On (105 Avenue B; 212-529-4447) one Saturday afternoon to find a birthday celebration in progress. A gaggle of 8-year-old girls crowd around the counter, paging through books of decals in search of the perfect T-shirt image while a boom box blasts eighties music. “I like the guy with the mohawk!” screams one, pointing to a picture of Mr. T with his trademark phrase, I PITY THE FOOL.
Parents who were teens in the seventies and eighties now have kids with retro taste, and Bang-On bridges the generation gap with hundreds of designs, from teen stars Scott Baio and Ricky Schroder to Devo and Charlie’s Angels. Andy Levine, who owns the graphic-design firm Tasty Inc. as well as Bang-On, also offers a selection of more sophisticated decals. Buyers choose the image and shirt (or underwear) color and style, add a few letters, let the store apply the heat, and it’s ready to go. Tees start at $9, sweatshirts at $35; decals are $5 or $10 each (depending on size), and letters are $1 each. A hot iron has never been cooler.