Fineline Tattoo in the East Village, the Longest Continually Running Tattoo Shop in Manhattan
Fineline Tattoo opened in 1976 during the New York City ban on tattooing and is considered the longest continually running tattoo shop in Manhattan. It’s located on 1st Street and First Avenue in the East Village. Previously, Mike Bakaty, the founder and owner, operated underground for 36 years in secret back rooms and loft apartments. With the walls adorned with Bakaty’s original flash art, Fineline is definitely near and dear to our skin and to the history of NYC.McGurk’s. Millie Hull…well she was one of the first female tattooers I ever heard of. There’s a picture of her right there (points to picture on the wall). This piece has her in it and some other legends like Charlie Wagner. Well, it was us (Fineline) that brought tattooing back to the Bowery and the fact of the matter is I was totally blind to the fact that the Bowery had such tattoo history. I read somewhere the first heavily tattooed person exhibition was around 1876 right across from 295 (Bowery) where we lived… Do you call this a parlor or a shop? It’s a studio. I don’t see a parlor anywhere in here. Can I ask how old you are? Well, I’m 77. G-d Bless you, man! You don’t look a day over 60. Well, thank you, I just passed the big 77. If I knew I was gonna get this old I’d have taken better care of myself (laughter). You can read the expanded original version of the interview on Bowery Boogie. Get in touch with the author @RebelKnow or contact her at BoweryBoogie.com.