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Bow’ry Days

November 5, 2009

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When I moved to New York in ’05 I didn’t know anything about New York. I knew where Trash Bar was, I knew how to get to the L and knew I needed to find a job pretty immediately. I also knew I wanted more tattoos. My first tattoo was a pair of bluebirds on my chest a couple months after I turned 18. They were a little on the new skool side but at that point I didn’t even realize there were different styles of tattoos.

So I got the outline put on one week, went back for color the next and got some quick advice on aftercare that involved Chapstick and went on my way. When I moved up after school I’d gotten a couple other little ones and managed to convince Matt from Great Southern to do the good brain/bad brain on my shoulder. Matt was a good dude; he was super nice, willing to work with a broke college kid who was pretty ignorant of tattoos and, most importantly, stoked to be tattooing. (Sidenote: Haven’t been able to find any more info on Matt Lautar so I don’t know if he tattoos anymore. He also gave me my first straight razor simply because I expressed an interest.)

Back to NYC. So I came up here with a few tattoos and, even with cheap PBR and free Tater Tots, I was instantly broke. So since I couldn’t really go out and load up, I spent hours on countless tattoo websites/myspaces using our wonderfully spotty, stolen internet, and re-reading the few magazines I’d managed to remember to bring up with me. Later that first year, after scraping together some cash to get another couple small ones, I bought one of my favorite books of all time, New York City Tattoo. This book was like the key that opened up this old, heavy wooden door to a New York full of tenements, back-alley brawls and serious gloves-off tattooing. I learned who Charlie Wagner was, I learned about Sands St. and the Brooklyn Navy Yard, about the down-and-dirty, rough-and-tumble Bowery. I caught little details that created more of a story about people like Millie Hull, Sam O’Reilly and figured out pretty quick that tattooers were dudes you did not fuck with unless you wanted a ball pein hammer to the face.

That particular story is one from Stanley Moskowitz, who loomed in my mind as a larger-than-life superhero of a bygone age, one that I couldn’t ever imagine living in the present day –– let alone a guy that I’d have the chance to interview. But I get to interview him next week. And I get to ask him whatever I want. So I hope I don’t blow it and I hope he doesn’t jump through the phone and beat me ’til I’m bloody and toss me down the stairs for the Bowery rats to feast on.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Matt Lautar permalink
    July 3, 2011 7:47 pm

    Yo Pat! It’s M@ Lautar! Thanks for the kind words bro, hit me via Facebook bro.

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