Between Delancey and 14th street, Manhattan bulges into the East River, ultimately piercing Brooklyn via the Williamsburg Bridge. In the old days, the bulge — named ‘Alphabet City’ because of the presence of Avenues A B C and D — might have been described as a boil, but nowadays it contains the village-y atmosphere of neighbourhoods rediscovered, but so far not ruinously redeveloped. In the very old days it contained the shops of Jewish immigrants, including the knife shop of the father of my former father-in-law.
Now though — apart from a few reminders of the old days, like sun-baked rat corpses pressed into the tarry streets — the widely seen charm impresses during any stroll or bike route one decides to create.
For some reason the bulge includes nine or so tattoo parlours all of which present for your viewing pleasure surprisingly creative, diverse imagery and the resident artists who produce it. That, along with clinics at which you can have your body pierced and your facial appearance enhanced with ‘microblading’ which for years I have misread as micro balding, and wondered what in the world it was.
Celebrities (check out the page ‘Familiar Faces‘ on their website) bearing East Side Ink tattoos include Susan Sarandon, a hulking man with a fist-size skull on his larynx and flames bursting up onto his cheeks, Cate Blanchett, Scarlett Johansson and possibly Woody Harrelson with a downward hanging noose tattooed around his neck.