I recently went house hunting in West Babylon, Long Island, when my girlfriend and I stumbled across a cool little tattoo shop right on Sunrise Highway. The name of the shop is Tattoo Lou’s Tattoo And Body Piercing. Upon entering, we learned that the shop is actually one of four in Long Island owned by the legendary classic old school tattoo artist, Lou Rubino, better known to the tattoo world as Tattoo Lou!
Tattoo Lou, a native New Yorker who was raised in Brooklyn, knew that he was destined to be a tattoo artist by the time he was 14 years old! He hung around Coney Island and used to watch another tattoo legend, “One Eye” Max Peltz, tattoo in his sidewalk tattoo booth, which is where Lou got his first tattoo! Lou would sit at Max’s booth and draw flash art, cut stencils, build needles and make machines for Max in return for his knowledge about tattooing. Now, back when Tattoo Lou started tattooing, fighting and tattooing went hand-in-hand. So, it was only natural that Lou would meet his best friend, “Crazy” Eddie Funk, in this manner. It was “Crazy” Eddie’s father who started Eddie and Lou off professionally by helping them open their first shop together in Rockaway, Queens, where they would spend their days inking and fighting. Eventually, Lou would make his way back to Coney Island to work with Brooklyn Blacky.
After a few years, Tattoo Lou, the pioneer that he was, would make his move to Manhattan, where he and another tattoo legend, Professor Dominic Chance, opened the Garden Tattoo Shop right across from the old Madison Square Garden. Professor Dominic is where Tattoo Lou learned about the “ball peen hammer” which is another story in itself! Now, it was after moving out of the Garden Tattoo Shop when Tattoo Lou would find his permanent home in Suffolk County. Back in 1958 when Lou opened the first Tattoo Lou’s Tattoo And Body Piercing, there was only one shop in Suffolk County that existed, and it was owned by two other tattoo legends who were known as “The Bowery Boys,” Stanley and Walter. Lou would open his shop 35 miles away from theirs in Selden, NY, out of respect to their business, and so the legend began.
Today, Tattoo Lou is celebrating his 50th anniversary since opening in Long Island. Within those 50 years, he’s opened four Tattoo Lou’s Tattoo And Body Piercing shops in New York including locations in Selden, Huntington, Saint James, and the shop that I would visit in West Babylon. All of his artists, including his own pride and joy, Tattoo Lou Jr., are award winning artists winning international awards all over the world for their artistry. Tattoo Lou Sr. and Tattoo Lou Jr. have set high standards for their teams of artists, so you know that if you get tattooed at one of their shops, you’re only getting the best quality of artwork! At the shop that I went to in Babylon, you can get tattooed by Ricky, Robin, Sharpie, or Amilia, and you can get pierced by Cassie. If you go to the mother shop in Selden, you have your choice of Irish Jay, Sharpie, Meghan, Joey, or Anthony to tattoo you, and Nick Steel to pierce you. In Huntington, there’s Mike Metaxa, Jose, or Big Dan to tattoo you, but Big Dan also pierces. Then there’s the shop in Saint James, where you can get tattooed by Sharpie, Pete, or Amalia, and pierced by Angela or Amalia.
When it comes to pricing, the price of the tattoo depends on the size of the tattoo, the detail involved, and the location of the tattoo on the body. The staff feels that the quality of a great tattoo is priceless, plus each artist may price differently. They also feel that customers should feel free to just stop in at any one of the shops at any time for free consultations because they’re always willing to help the customer on their decision to get tattooed. The prices for piercing on the other hand, seemed to be based on the price of the body jewelry, which ranged from as low as $30 to as high as about $80 for two cheek studs. Yuck!
Tattoo Lou’s does have an age requirement for their customers. Since it’s a New York State Law that you must be 18 years of age to get tattooed, Tattoo Lou’s abides by the law pretty strictly. For tattooing, customers must present a picture ID or no inking will take place. For piercing, you must also be 18 years old to get pierced according to New York State Law, but to get pierced all you need is a notarized letter from a parent or legal guardian, even if the parent is with the customer. So, as far as the law goes, Tattoo Lou’s is pretty strict on them.
Tattoo Lou’s Tattooing And Body Piercing is a custom shop. They will take your ideas and manipulate them to make them unique and personal. They will, however, do flash work if that’s what you really want. But wouldn’t you really want your own creative piece on your body? The shop is clean, very professional, and has a lot of history behind it. If there’s any place that you’re looking to trust when it comes to putting art on your body, you’re going to want a place who has been in business for 50 years without a complaint, and not to mention is a tattoo legend!
Make your appointment today at any of the four Tattoo Lou’s locations; 262 Middle Country Road in Selden, NY, their phone number is (631) 732-9585, 579 Sunrise Highway in West Babylon, NY, their phone number is (631) 422-9118, 240 East Jericho Turnpike in Huntington, NY, their phone number is (631) 425-0444, and 596 Middle Country Road in Saint James, NY, and their phone number is (631) 724-4699. You can call to make your appointment or just walk in as walk-ins are always welcome as long as an artist is available. You can also visit Tattoo Lou’s online at tattoolous.com. Help Tattoo Lou Sr. and Jr. end their 50th anniversary in style!
Well, I’m off to check out my next tattoo place! If you have a tattoo shop that you want to suggest to me please e- mail me the name of the place and whom I should ask for!