Mike Bakaty, owner of the city's longest-running tattoo parlor, died Wednesday night after a battle with cancer. He was 77.
Bakaty opened Fineline Tattoos on First Avenue near East Second Street in 1997 after the city lifted the 30-plus year ban on tattooing. He started his business during the tattoo prohibition from his Bowery loft in 1976.
We featured Bakaty in Out and About in the East Village last Feb. 13.
I grew up in Miami. I moved to Houston and Bowery in 1970 to try it out for a year or two. I was 34 when I got here and I’m 39 now. I was the same handsome, charming young man that I am now.
Fame and fortune brought me here, like everybody else. Why the hell else? If I wanted fun in the sun, I’d have stayed in Miami.
Dave on 7th first told us the news.
"Mike was a total original. He was no doubt one of only a handful of people who were able to break into and keep alive the art of tattooing in New York — if not the country — during its long prohibition. He was a fine artist as well as a tattoo artist.
"He will be sorely missed by everyone who has had the privilege and pleasure to know him."
Here's a video interview with Bakaty (and his son Mehai) from January 2009...