Considering that the Bowery is essentially the cradle of NYC tattooing – consider that legends Samuel O’Reilly and Charlie Wagner occupied 11 Chatham Square for near on 70 years – it is a great delight to see top quality tattooing resume in the area. Kings Avenue has opened a new location in the thick of gentrification. A slice of old New York in the midst of new.

Full press release and examples of work by the super talented Mr. Mike Rubendall after the jump.

Travel far back enough in time and the high-end boutiques and martini bars of the Bowery disappear.  Decades before there was a CBGBs – much less a John Varvatos boutique in its former footprint – the Bowery was America’s most notorious “skid row.”  Crime flourished in the alleyways, derelicts lay dying in the gutters and sailors on shore-leave stopped by the neighborhood for assorted vice and a tattoo before shipping off to sea.

While that era is long gone (and few lament its passing), one thing worth celebrating has returned to the Bowery: tattooing.

On April 1st, KINGS AVENUE NYC opened its doors at 188 Bowery to a reveal a beautiful, open-loft floor plan to the public.  Framed paintings decorate the walls and with its black glass chandeliers and oriental carpets, KINGS AVENUE NYC doesn’t look the rough-and-tumble shops of the old Bowery – nor is it the place to get a crude anchor quickly scratched into your forearm.  This is a pristine gallery space where fine-art is being created on skin seven days a week.

Sharing a name with the flagship location in Massapequa, Long Island, KINGS AVENUE NYC was founded by tattooist and international award-winner, MIKE RUBENDALL, with his associate, GREZ, a well-respected tattooist in his own right.  While people have traveled from all over the world to visit their Long Island location for everything from a full-scale Japanese body-suit to a modestly-sized, classic nod to Americana flash, RUBENDALL explains that they opted to open a second shop on Bowery, “for the simple fact of wanting to be a part of the energy, life, and creativity that Manhattan possesses.”

KINGS AVENUE NYC will also feature the work of resident artists MATT BECKERICH, JUSTIN WEATHERHOLTZ, BRIAN PAUL, SHAUN NEL, KEVIN LEBLANC and SARAH SCHOR – a talented collective that has adorned the bodies of notables like actress EVAN RACHEL WOOD, hip-hop empresario DAMON DASH and rocker PETE WENTZ of FALL OUT BOY.  The public can also expect to see guest appearances from renowned artists like CHRIS O’DONNELL, TIM HENDRICKS and Denmark’s HENNING JORGENSON as well as “celebrity” tattooists such as CHRIS NUÑEZ (Miami Ink) and KAT VON D (L.A. Ink).  Artists will be present to accept unscheduled “walk-in” clients, but due to their individual waiting lists, clients are encouraged to contact the artists at KINGS AVENUE NYC in advance.

Sure, the Bowery has gotten a make-over in the past few years, but now it can also get a beautiful tattoo.


Located at 188 Bowery at the corner of Spring Street, KINGS AVENUE NYC is open from 12pm-9pm on Monday through Saturday and 1pm until 7pm on Sunday.  The shop can be reached by telephone at (212) 431-5464 or online at

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