New York Daily Photo Analytics

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Cappuccino & Tattoo

This is Fun City Cappuccino & Tattoo, a unique fusion of two extremely popular things, both with a long and international history. Tattooing is certainly not new or uniquely New York - it can be traced back thousands of years and the term itself is Polynesian. Tattooing was banned in the city from 1961 (when an outbreak of hepatitis B was traced to a tattoo parlor) to March 27, 1997, when it was re-legalized. But ironically, the American style tattoo was born here in Chatham Square (Chinatown) at the turn of the century. Later, in the 1920s with the advent of electronic tattooing, the practice moved to the ports of NYC (Coney Island and the Brooklyn Navy Yard) catering to sailors. The period when tattooing was banned here was the time it became the mainstay of hippies and bikers. Tattooing went underground in the city and was eclipsed by other cities like San Francisco. Since the re-legalization, NYC has been playing catch-up. One of the early practitioners was Jonathan Shaw (who's father was the bandleader Artie Shaw), original owner of Fun City Tattoo, the oldest Tattoo parlor in the city dating back to 1976 (as a private studio) - read the history here at their website (click on the "Press" link). The photo is of the business's public incarnation at 94 St. Marks Place, dating back to 1991. Michelle Myles is the new owner - she also runs Daredevil Tattoo on Ludlow Street. Tattoos have certainly shed much of their criminal, outlaw or bad boy image - it is now popular in the burbs as well as cities. Estimates are that 16% of the population has a tattoo. No person in the United States is reported to have contracted HIV via a commercially-applied tattooing process. Still not interested? Perhaps a beautiful temporary henna (Mehandi) tattoo - click here for photo. Or perhaps just a cappuccino ...

8 comments:

Abraham Lincoln said...

From the looks of your excellent photograph, this should be on a rival network opposite Miami Ink. I sometimes get to watch that as a reminder of my two roses put on my left forearm in Oakland, California in 1955. A long time ago.

Nice shot and great narrative.

I hope you get to see the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak that came to Brookville, Ohio yesterday. It is the first one I have seen since we moved here 44 years ago.

anu said...

Hmm, interesting combo for most youths, cappuccino and tattoo. This would work in Mumbai too.
Im sure its very popular.

Brian said...

Unfortunately, I did not go in. We were all watching a parade. Next time I am in the neighborhood, I want to check it out.
Brian

Monica said...

What I love about this picture - besides learning about the place - is that you manage to get these 3 people standing at the door, and I think they show the spirit of the place very well.

blueboat said...

oh wow, this is fantastic. You'd have to make sure you got your order right ('I'll have a tattoo, no, no!, I mean a cappucino...)! I must take a photograph of our local tattoo studio - it used to have a sign on the front door saying 'NO PRAMS'!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm doing a paper/story on NYC nightlife in 1929 and I'm hoping to have my heroine end up getting a tattoo (scandal!). Essentially I was wondering if you had any sources on your statement about popular practices of tattooing in the 1920s, because I could use them. Actually, any sources you know of would be of great help to me.
--AnnieLane
P.S.
I love this blog and NYC.

Moi said...

The Mehandi pic reminded moi of my hands tattooed so during my wedding a few months back....

Anonymous said...

I already know so many people with tattoo designs regret and most of them are still in their mid-twenties...just wait till you pass 50 and you are going to feel like a real dumbass--especially since they be all faded and blury on your loose skin.