A controversial tattoo parlor in Gerritsen Beach is expanding — and even its former opponents are happy about it.
It took a few weeks for owners Bill DeLuso and Michael Coppola of Wyld Chyld Tattoo to win over neighbors who feared their shop on Gerritsen Avenue would become a neighborhood menace. But after a successful question-and-answer session at the October Gerritsen Beach Property Owners Association meeting, they’re already to expand.
The owners will turn the empty storefront next door to the tattoo parlor, between Channel and Devon avenues, into a lounge that will host live music and comedy, and sell skateboards and T-shirts. The lounge will be open by December, according to Coppola.
“Everything has been going smoothly with the neighborhood since that meeting,” Coppola said. “I think people know that both our tattoo parlor and the lounge will be safe and well-kept.”
The coupling of a tattoo shop and a cafe has already worked out for Wyld Chyld Tattoo’s Long Island branch, which opened two years ago. And Gerritsen Beach residents who were initially wary of Wyld Chyld are pleased about new businesses revitalizing a mostly bare block.
“The community could use more businesses,” said Maryanne McLinden, a member of the Gerritsen Beach Property Owners Association. “A tattoo parlor isn’t really my scene, but I could see myself going to the cafe because I’ve become friendly with the Wyld Chyld owners.”
At least one Gerritsen Beach resident is wearing his love of the new shop on his sleeve — well, his shoulder.
”I never had a tattoo before, but I got one at Wyld Chyld to celebrate my wife’s birthday,” said Brian Cuthilo, a transit worker. “I got a rose with her name across.”
Seven O’Brian calls the parlor “a modern, as opposed to old-school,” tattoo shop because it utilizes the latest equipment, such as silent tattoo machines that fit in the palm of an artist’s hand, and because the artists usually draw original designs right on the customers’ arm, instead of tracing a pre-drawn design, known in the industry as a flash.
“I’m like a police sketch artist,” O’Brian said. “The customers describe what they want and I draw it just like that. I’ll try to do any style of art that they ask for.”
The least expensive tattoos there are Japanese symbols, which run as low as $60 depending on the size. But customers have spent as much as $800 on tattoos, which usually have to be drawn in multiple sessions. He’s currently working on an $800 tattoo of a dragon that stretches from a guy’s arm to his chest.
Opened in September, the tattoo shop has brought new life to the block, thanks to it’s colorful, trippy paintings of angels and skeletons out front. Its interior is akin to the set of “Legends of the Hidden Temple” meets a Brooklyn rooftop. Tribal masks, Buddha statues and voodoo dolls — some of which were collected from the tattoo artists’ various travels — hang from the brick walls.
And thanks to the meeting — along with a lengthy question and answer piece on www.gerritsenbeach.net — O’Brien seems to have won over his opponents.
“He’s a really sweet, friendly guy,” Cuthilo said.