simple is beautiful
New York Daily Photo: Cappuccino & Tattoo
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Sunday, 6 May 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 ...


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