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Hail to the Irish 


This month we asked our senior tattoo artist Jay do a write up for St Pattys Day. Here it is:

During the planning of this edition of the Tattoo Lou’s Newsletter, Lou approached me and asked if I could say a little something about St. Patrick’s Day. Being “Irish Jay” Lou thought I would have some insight that I could share about the holiday and explain what the day means to me. Being Italian, he obviously knows nothing about this holiest of holidays. I don’t know if Lou has ever known me by any other name other than “Irish”. My first name is Jason, come to think of it, I’ve never heard him say that name.


During my apprenticeship many years ago I was given the nickname “Irish” by Lou. I guess the name fit me, mainly because I was the only non-Italian-American in the room at the time. It was the early 90’s and I showed up to work with House of Pain cranking in my Ford Escort cassette player.


Whenever I think of St. Patrick’s Day I think of many things: my family, my heritage, my friends, bagpipes, a perfectly poured black & tan, the bone shattering clank of the shot glass on your front teeth as you finish your 10th consecutive Irish Car Bomb against an endless line of challengers, the yearly pilgrimage to the city for the parade, my brother and myself drinking from our boots at the Rock Ridge Salon on Varek Street, scoring a back table at McSorleys and holding it like Celtic Warriors for hours ordering “Dark or Lights” 40 at a time. The chill that runs up your thigh while waiting to step off at the parade, wondering to yourself, “Why can’t I have worn boxers?” Then starting the march and seeing how tradition, pride, and a little Jameson’s really can keep you warm in mid-March. Bellying up to the bar, singing 300 year old songs with 100 complete strangers, and knowing every word. Remembering walking into the bar, but having no clue how you left. All of these thoughts run through my mind, however, there is one thing that tops them all…
Corned beef and cabbage is a tricky thing. I’ve had it in many places many times made by many people. They all talk about how theirs is the best, secret recipe this, old country that. Their talk is just what I called it…talk. I’ll go on record and say, “I make the best corned beef and cabbage in the world.” That’s right I said it!


My mother (who is an insane cook by the way) knows nothing about corned beef and cabbage. She hasn’t an inkling of the fine nuances of the dish. While knocking every other meal out of the park she still hasn’t grasped the concept of this meal and it crashes and burns every time! Mom wants to make it healthier, more eclectic, new schooling the recipe with onions and scallions. The reckless Tom Foolery and unneeded pussification of her version almost ruined corned beef and cabbage for me. My mom makes it too Irish! Corned beef and cabbage is not a traditional Irish dish. It’s a turn of the century Irish-American dish, popularized by poor Irish immigrants. I’m sure they had never even heard of a scallion.


Going out to eat at pubs on St. Patrick’s Day for corned beef and cabbage is a disgrace as well. Poor quality meat, uninspired potatoes, soggy cabbage, as well as the dreaded carrot make all of their versions lame and forgettable. Thank God their beer is good so I can get the taste of that abomination out of my mouth. My brother made corned beef and cabbage the other day. I don’t even want to talk about that.


My version on the other hand differs from all the others. Did I say it was the best? It is based on my Grandma McGuigan’s recipe. The only reason MY corned beef and cabbage is the best in the world is that Grandma McGuigan passed in 1996. I can’t get into the secrets too much, but I can tell you what I don’t do. I don’t broil the meat ever. I don’t trim any fat off the brisket. I don’t cook it less than five hours. I don’t use onions or leeks. I don’t ever use carrots. Carrots are orange, they have no business being in corned beef and cabbage. This next step is critical! All you need is one big pot. That’s all Grandma used in the Bronx tenement she lived in, that is all I’ll ever use. The key is to make it all together, pull out the meat and mash up the remaining ingredients. There is a lot more to it, but I’ll never divulge any of that information. I know it doesn’t look great, I know the house stinks when I make it, I know each serving of it has 1700 calories. I also know that every St. Patrick’s Day I bring it in to Tattoo Lou’s in Selden and the staff hovers around it, gorging themselves like hyenas over a zebra carcass.


I can almost see Grandma McGuigan, looking down through her coke bottle glasses, at everyone enjoying the genius of her recipe, the bold simplicity of it, the rugged tradition of it, and the love she put into it. I try to duplicate it every time. I think about grandma every time I make it.


St. Patrick’s Day means many different things to me. Having a nickname like Irish Jay, it’s obviously a big part of my life. Looking at all of it though, it’s really all about Grandma McGuigan’s corned beef and cabbage.


Miss Tattoo 2010

We are in search of Miss Tattoo 2010. If you think you have what it takes then send your photo with contact information to Your application will be considered for the 2010 Miss Tattoo Award. So what do you win? Bragging rights first of all. Second you get a FREE tattoo of your choice of up to $500 bucks. Third, you will have a professional photo shoot with your choice location showing off your brand new ink. Photos will be featured in upcoming newsletters and on (New York’s Biggest online tattoo community) The winner will be picked June 26th at the first ever Tattoo Bikini Car Wash in Selden. We look forward to picking a winner!


Philly Tattoo Convention 


This year don’t miss out on one of the best tattoo conventions of the year: The Philadelphia Tattoo convention. This year Tattoo Lou’s will be there in full effect. Irish Jay pictured on the front will be inking till his hands fall off. This show seems to get crazier ever year. We expect this year to kick ass and you will be pissed if you miss it. If you do decide to come to the tattoo convention, you will see all kinds of crazy tattoos and people that have stepped way beyond the average tattooed person. Please have Tattoo etiquette! Do not take someone’s picture without asking them first if it is ok! Usually most tattooed people would love for you to take a picture of their artwork as that is why they got it in the first place… They generally like to show off great artwork that has meaningful purpose in their life! If you want to take pictures of artists working, please do the same and ask. The last thing an artist wants are flashes going off while trying to work on a sick piece of artwork! Many artists come there to get recognized so they bring people to work on very large tattoos. Tattoos at a convention may be much more expensive then getting tattooed in a shop, as the artist’s time is much more valuable there. Time is limited and they have a minimum amount of money to make before paying for hotel, plane tickets, taxi or gas, booth setup, meals and much more before even the price of the artwork! If you are planning on getting tattooed at a convention always remember that tattoos last a lifetime, so be careful of the artists you choose. Go to a reputable shop with reputable tattoo artists and look through their portfolio first to be sure they are doing tattoos that you are comfortable with and the artist has the artistic ability that goes above and beyond!!! There may be many young artists there trying to get their name out, but this does not mean that they are as professional as the artists at Tattoo Lou’s.

Sleeve Up


A sleeve tattoo refers to any type of tattoo that completely covers the skin in a specific area. Typically sleeve tattoos are done on the arms and they can come in a variety of lengths. A full sleeve tattoo begins at the shoulder blade and ends at the wrist. A half sleeve covers shoulder to elbow or elbow to wrist. A quarter sleeve is elbow to half way down the forearm or shoulder to half way down the biceps.

The word “sleeve” comes from clothing, as in T-shirt sleeves. Therefore, a sleeve tattoo essentially covers your arm as a T-shirt sleeve would. However, with a lot more artistic style and flair!

If you have already taken the plunge and gotten some ink done on your body, then you probably know by now how incredibly addictive tattoos can be. Many people have stated that once they get started – they just can’t stop! In fact, many people think tattoos are very therapeutic. Must be something about needles, pain and art combined which seem to have magic and therapeutic effect.

Getting a sleeve tattoo is much like sitting down to write a ten-page paper. The first paragraph is always the hardest. You will find once you establish your concept, the ideas will start to flow. Ask the artists at Tattoo Lou’s to see their portfolio books and other sleeves they have done. This will help you get your ink rolling. We find that people usually fall into two different categories when getting tattoo sleeves.

The Individual Tattoos Path To A Sleeve Tattoo

This way happens by accident. It starts with one or two tattoos, and then you’re addicted. Individuals then continue to get tattoos in the area until most of the arm is filled with individual tattoos. Often at this point people still want more tattoos, thus they design a way to connect up all of the individual tattoos into one large sleeve tattoo.

One Complete Project Part To A Sleeve Tattoo

The second way people end up getting a sleeve tattoo is when they plan the whole thing out before starting. This takes a great deal of foresight, time and effort to come up with a unique and yet meaningful design that can cover the entire arm. However, these can often be very significant projects. Do a lot of research online. You will find tons of ideas out there.

If you are truly contemplating getting a full sleeve tattoo then you will probably want to spend some time thinking about it. Of course you may have stumbled upon a sleeve tattoo through the Individual Route. However, if you are planning from the beginning to get a sleeve tattoo done, you will want to spend some time contemplating what types of tattoo designs you would like to get.
It is important before starting the actual tattoo to spend some time thinking about the designs, styles and types of tattoo images you would like to get. On page 3 we give you a short list of some of the more popular themes and sleeve tattoo design ideas that are often done. Of course this in no way locks you into getting one of these ideas, but it may serve as a suggestion to get the ball rolling and get your mind wandering.

Typically the tattoo that you spend the most time designing will be the one that you are proud to wear the rest of your life. If you plan ahead and pick a meaningful tattoo design that is full of important symbols and expresses something about your individuality, then you will be proud to show it off! Here are just a few ideas when planning out sleeves:

1. Flame Tattoo Sleeves- These can often work as part of a larger full sleeve tattoo. The flames typically start down at the wrist area and then move up the forearm. As you get towards the top or shoulder area other tattoos and designs can be incorporated.

2. Tribal Tattoo Sleeve – These are very popular options when choosing tattoo sleeves as the bold, thick and dark lines look great form a distance. There are many different tribal tattoos and a long history of tattooing among many native cultures. For example, you may want to research designs from Polynesian cultures like the Maori. No matter what design you choose, tribal designs contain bold features making them a great option for a sleeve tattoo.

3. Celtic Knot Sleeve Tattoos – Celtic knots work great for sleeve designs. These are very intricate tattoos with a ton of detail and interweaving lines. Therefore they are well suited for the larger canvas area of a full sleeve tattoo.

4. Floral Patterns – Women often find these attractive, but many men think floral patterned tattoos look great. Vines, swirls, and floral can wrap around your arms in a very natural way making it a great choice to incorporate into sleeves.

5. Traditional Japanese Tattoo – The Japanese have a rich history of tattooing and today, Japanese tattoos have become extremely popular. These beautiful and intricate designs often have very deep symbolic meanings. Many Westerners also find them very unique, making them great for a full sleeve tattoo.

6. Biomechanical Tattoo Designs – Biomechanics is the combination of living organisms with mechanical principles. Much like………yup you said it…. The Terminator. Imagine tearing off your skin to reveal mechanical machine parts running your body increasing strength and movement. This leaves endless possibilities when planning a sleeve tattoo.

These are just a few ideas for creating your sleeve tattoo, however, what you choose should be entirely up to you, based on your values and individuality. Do not ever get a tattoo because you saw some Hollywood celebrity with that design. Instead, find something that speaks to you and has power and symbolic meaning behind it! Ask the artists at Tattoo Lou’s for their advice when planning out your tats. Their professional advice will help in your vision of how you want your tats to look. Pictured below are just a few examples of tattoo sleeves. The tattoos pictured are done by Andres, Irish Jay and Jay Crutch.

Tattoo of the Month : Irish Jay. (what a surprise)

Thinking about getting some new ink to show off this summer? Unfortunately, most people wait till the summer to get their tattoos as they see more and decide at the last minute to get theirs. A lot of people also want to get in shape for summer and slap some ink over their tight body to show off on the beach! Well, summer is actually not the best time to put your ink on! Why?…. The number one reason is a tattoo may take up to 2-3 weeks to heal, so you must keep it out of the sun and keep it out of the pool or any water for long periods of time. Does this mean you shouldn’t get tattooed in the summer? Absolutely not! However, there are several advantages in getting your ink sooner than later. First off you can think about exactly what you want and head to the shop to get great advice from all the artists at Tattoo Lou’s. Research online and pictures are always very helpful when speaking to the artists. After getting your ink you will be more than healed up and ready to look great all summer long. If you are getting a big tattoo, it may take several sessions. It will be months before your tattoo should see sun or take a dip in a pool. Be smart and time your ink right. Plan it out! Another important thing to remember is the shops are much busier in the summer. So come in during the winter so our artists can take the time out to help you make the right decision on some awesome ink!!

Tattoo Lous Street Team

Now you can too be part of New York’s biggest tattoo community. The Tattoo Lou’s street team is a great way to make extra money with very little work. The American dream, right? Here is how it works: First send an email to We will set you up with an employee ID number and your own personal set of Tattoo Lou’s gift certificate cards. Each card must be hand signed, by you, with your employee ID number (or else they will not be valid)! Hand out these cards to everyone you know, especially those you think may want a tattoo. For every card that comes back to the shop we will pay you 8 bucks. So how is this different than being a club promoter? Simple. We are giving you something that people actually want! Stone cold tattoo cash. It’s as simple as that and there really is no catch. After becoming part of Tattoo Lou’s Street Team you will be given a user name and password to log onto our web site and check to see how many cards come back to the shop. After we pay you they will be marked with a check mark. “But wait, there’s more!” After 100 cards come back to the shop we will hook you up with a bonus check. So if you’re as busy as we are but have that urge to make some extra doe, sign on up.


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