Vacation : \vā-ˈkā-shən, və-\ (noun) a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation.
See, that right there was the problem, that whole “away from home or business” thing. I would go out-of-town to conventions all the time, it meant that I had one or two days to run around whatever city was hosting the convention and then 3 days of noon-to midnight work. I would usually arrive home thinking, “man, I need a break!” So it turned out that doing tattoo conventions is not really a vacation, maybe a “working vacation” but that is sort of like a “painful massage“, it just doesn’t really feel like what its supposed to.
Anyhow, Cara and I took a week (a whole week!) off to go to New York city.We started off in Brooklyn where we visited Daniel Santoro’s coffee shop/antique/record store.
Good coffee and only a couple blocks from Smith Street Tattoo parlor where Cara got a little souvenir tattoo on our last day in NY. It was also close to some awesome restaurants and antique stores. It was also close to a little place called the Farmacy which served old school eggcreams, thusly,
An Egg cream is basically seltzer water and some flavor syrup of some kind (like chocolate). You will note that there is neither egg nor cream in them, something that made me go “ewwwwww” for years when I would hear the word Eggcream which is a shame because they are actually delicious. Cara and i recently listened to a great double CD on the way to the Toronto convention called “Last of the Bowery Scab-merchants“, in it the late old school tattooer Walter Moskowitz reminisces about all kinds of cool old school shit including Eggcreams so it was nice to be able to have one so soon after hearing it.
There also a fashion shoot in the Farmacy while we were there, sadly they did not ask me to pose with the anorexic models pretending to drink milkshakes. I’m sure the contrast would have been faaaabulous.
Brooklyn was pretty amazing, there was definitely some of the hipsterness that is talked about so often, but it was really just a small percentage (that we saw) compared to just regular folks doing what they do.
One of the big reasons we picked New York was because Cara had an appointment at Saved Tattoo with Thomas Hooper to get her hand done. We had consultations on Wednesday (I was getting my neck tattooed by Seth Wood) and Thursday was go time. Obviously I didn’t take that many pictures while getting my neck tattooed (an experience which I can compare to loosing an MMA match while getting stung by bees) so you will have to wait for Caras blog to see me in all my smash-faced glory, but here are some of Cara getting worked on.
We also got to visit some amazing museums including the Met to see the last week of the Alexander McQueen exhibit. Thanks to Cara i actually can appreciate the art that some fashion designers bring to their work and McQueen was probably at the top of that list for me. I didn’t even mind the 2+ hour wait in line to see the exhibit which the Met did absolutely beautifully.
The rest of the museum is full of Caravaggios and Rodins, rare Japanese textiles, an entire egyptian temple lifted stone by stone to New York, basically, its worth a full day if you are in New York. If you do go, eat lunch on the roof, its worth the blazing sun to eat surrounded by the architecture of the city and Central park.
We also went to the Rubin museum which was incredible and inspiring on so many levels. As a tattooer it is a visual banquet and you cant help but come away inspired by the amazing art:
And as a Buddhist it’s always interesting to see how it has changed as Buddhism was carried eastward. The Tibetan and Himalayan version of Buddhism isn’t something I’m personally a practitioner of, but I have to admit that they produced the most dramatic and inspiring artwork of any Buddhist culture in my opinion. The Rubin is 5 floors of it and I walked out of its doors with my art batteries fully charged and ready to go.
Some stuff I didn’t take pictures of include Kings Ave tattoo Manhattan where we got the warmest reception and got to hang out and look at the awe-inspiring portfolios of folks like Mike Rubendall, Grez, and Sarah Shorr (among many others). I laid prelinary groundwork to get my left arm sleeved by Grez once my lasering gets a little further along. We also went to Pearl River mart to buy cheap Asian trinkets and tons of cool stores.
On our last day we wanted to go to that last bastion of old school New York, Coney island!
We unexpectedly ran into an old friend of Caras and they rode the cyclone. We saw a “10 in 1” sideshow and the English penguin boy complimented Caras tattoos. We got to walk the boardwalk in 98degree sun which was awesome because unlike most beaches Coney Island isn’t full of suburban enclave families. We rode the train home to the hotel that night fully exhausted and about as relaxed as I’ve ever been.