Visual artists and tattoo enthusiasts rejoice: The 18th installment of the official NYC Tattoo Convention is upon us. The event carries the torch for popularized traditions of an estimated 50 clandestine tattooers who operated in signless shops around Coney Island and lower Manhattan before the tattoo ban was lifted in 1997. If it weren't for the progressive 38 politicians who voted against the curmudgeonly minority of seven, tattoo patrons to this day would need a black market contact for their ink in the same way many still do for their weed.
The convention is definitely a bucket list item for devotees of the culture, boasting not just the legacy of the event itself, but also featuring 100+ artists from around the globe. Exciting shit, right? Of course, but keep your clothes on for a second while we run down some tips for survival and an optimal experience on your voyage to the Metropolitan Pavilion.
- Friday 6/12: 4PM - 12AM
- Saturday 6/13: 12PM - 12AM
- Sunday 6/14: 12PM - 8PM
Single-day pre-sale tickets and weekend passes can be purchased here.
If you ask me, just don't. Not only is driving in NYC a headache in and of itself, parking is expensive and there are alcoholic beverages available at the Metropolitan Pavilion during the event.
If you must drive however, your destination lies at 125 West 18th St, New York, NY 10011. A number of parking options can be found a short walking distance away:
- Manhattan Parking Group: 180 West 20th Street; (646) 638-0695
- Icon Parking: 16 West 16th Street; (212) 242-9635
- Rapid Park Industries: 124 West 20th St; (212) 627-7739
- Sawyer Parking: 148-150 West 20th Street; (212) 627-4505Other Sawyer location: 140 West 18th (cash-only)
Whatever you do, DON'T lose your receipt or parking stub.
Lots of options for train lines, regardless of where you're coming from:
- On the 1 train, get off at the 18th St stop. Proceed east to 125 W 18th St.
- On the 2 or 3 train, get off at the 14th St stop. Walk north to 18th St and 7th Ave, turn right onto 18th St, proceed east to 125 W 18th St.
- On the A, C, or E train, get off at the 14th St stop. Walk north on 8th Avenue to 18th St, turn right onto 18th St, cross over 7th Ave, proceed to 125 W 18th St.
- On the 4, 5, 6, Q, R, N, or W train, get off at the 14th St stop (Union Square). Walk north and west to 18th St and 6th Ave. On 18th St, proceed west to 125 W 18th St.
- On the M, F or L train, get off at the 14th St stop. Walk north on 6th Ave to 18th St, turn left onto 18th St, proceed to 125 W 18th St.
WHAT TO BRING
- A printed copy or a PDF copy of your ticket MUST accompany you to the show. If you do not arrive with this in hand, you can expect to pay your admission all over again. For out-of-towners, remember that it's not always simple to run back to your pal's house or your hotel to retrieve items left behind.
- Your state-issued ID (valid driver’s license, passport, or military ID) will be useful if you plan to drink alcohol or get tattooed at the convention. The event is all ages, thus you may attend without an ID, but what's the fun in a tattoo convention if you can't get tattooed?
- Cash is king. Many vendors, be they food vendors, tattooers, or merchandisers, might accept credit cards, but many won't. Tattooing is historically a cash-based industry and you'd hate to miss out on a prime opportunity because a famed artist from Barcelona wasn't equipped to swipe.
WHAT TO WEAR
It's hot in NYC right now, and all that pavement doesn't help cool the city much. For general comfort, we recommend shorts, tanks, non-black tees, and the like. Especially if you plan to get tattooed while you attend, clothing that is easily removed makes the most sense.
ARTISTS TO SEE
The NYC Tattoo Convention isn't the savviest digital company, but you can head here for a list of some solo artists and a multitude of shops whose staff tattooers will be working over the weekend. If you're so inclined, dig around a bit and find the social pages of the shops listed to finger styles and names that fit your tastes.