Text and photos by Stacie Joy
We last checked in with East Side Ink’s attitude-free tattoo, laser and microblading shop on Avenue B between Sixth Street and Seventh Street during the pandemic’s third-stage PAUSE order from then-Gov. Cuomo.
The shop recently moved to a spacious yet cozy second-floor loft at 88 Rivington St. between Orchard and Ludlow.
Everybody knows the pandemic year was a struggle for most businesses. We were sad to see so many closed.
However, because of our amazing artists and clients, we survived. We learned a lot about what our clients and artists want for the future of tattooing. So, we created a space that was private and warm yet open and inviting. We were all separated for so long that we just wanted to be together again. Safely. We wanted a studio that worked better for the artists and their needs. A studio that supports the artistic growth and privacy of our clients. We wanted a studio that was for us, our little artist family.
You mentioned this is your fifth location (since inception) in the neighborhood. Why is the East Village/Lower East Side area vital to you?
Well, besides being respectful of our original name…the East Village/Lower East Side has nurtured art, diversity and culture. Growing up in NYC, I remember being genuinely inspired by the scene in the East Village and Lower East Side. The art, music and fashion you could find on most blocks in the East Village were like nowhere else in the world. East Side Ink has been a part of that culture since the 1990s.
Even if the rents get high and the landlords don’t respect the neighborhood’s culture, it will always be our home, and we will prevail.
Were all your artists able to make the move with you to the Rivington Street shop?
Yes! And both the artists and clients have expressed how happy they are in the new studio, and they even say they like it better. It was difficult to physically and mentally move, so we couldn’t be happier with everyone’s reaction and support. It was important that the artists feel at home at the shop. We considered every detail to make a space our artists would be inspired to create in. We want to support them as best we can to give each client and tattoo the attention it deserves.
How is the new space different from previous ones, and has the clientele changed?
Our clientele has always been diverse, from Oscar-winning celebrities to locals on the block. Unlike our previous locations, our new studio provides a sense of inclusion and warmth. A professional coziness. I could describe the artwork and the wood floors and the lighting, but really, it’s a vibe.
What can we expect from East Side Ink going forward?
You can expect us to grow old! We are not going anywhere. We have always been ahead of our time in the tattoo industry, leading the way with how a shop looks and feels. We are a close-knit little artist family. We’ve been through 9/11, hurricanes, flooding, blackouts and pandemic. We prevailed!
Over the last few years, we’ve grown, we’ve gotten married, we had babies, we’ve broken up, moved on, and moved up! You can expect to see us for a long time. Come visit: bring your dogs and your kids. We have made it this far because we have always had the support of our artists, clients and neighbors.