On our ninth day in New York we had very specific plans; getting tattooed. I was very excited and a little anxious which is the feeling I have every time I get a tattoo, not that I have a lot of them. This will be the third tattoo for me (sorry dad!) and as for Tanguy….. I lost count !!! I am not even sure if I ever asked him how many tattoos he has or if I ever counted them, I will have to remember to ask him that at some point because I should know the answer to that question, right? Tanguy booked an appointment for us at the New York Hardcore Tattoos parlour in the Lower East side which is founded by Hardcore legend, Vinnie Stigma in 1999 (guitarist of Agnostic frond and Madball for the connaisseurs).
It was no surprise that Tanguy would know about this place and arrange that we get a tattoo there. Our entire trip had a hardcore character to it from Ray’s candy store, to records shops, to the areas we visited and finally our “wedding New York tattoos”. The artist who tattooed us that day was Sweety, he is a very quiet kind persona and has a classic, old school rock style also depicted in his work that I absolutely love. I am happy for our choice and am happy to have finally our wedding tattoo!
A few blocks over the tattoo shop, at the Marshall Stack bar it was time for another reunion. This time with someone I have met before 😁 in real life. It has been several years, I am not going to share how may, since I met Rick at the VUB. I found out years ago that he now lives and works in New York so when I came I contacted him eager to catch up. I was curious of how he got to be so lucky to find a job in the city and how he is doing in general. Rick was one of the good ones in the VUB, he was helpful aka willing to share his class notes with others, he was open and not at all reserved as most of our dutch classmates and he was and is as obsessed with TV series as I am. I remember talking with him about TV shows we were both watching at the time, he also read Tina Fey’s book , how can I not like the guy? When I spotted him in the bar, I instantly ‘hated’ the fact that he looks exactly the same as back then. Tall and thin, smiling, still talkative and so fun. It was a great opportunity to catch up and talk again about semantics, about his life in New York, his work at the MoMa (I hate hime for that too, in a nice supportive way though), his tiny apartment in Astoria…. (or was it Queens….no must have been Astoria) and of course we talked about TV series. He even gave me a scoop about a location near by which is where Ilana and Abby form Broad city “met” – hooray!
Several beers later we said our good byes and Tanguy and me walked in the pouring rain to a thai restaurant that Rik recommended to us for dinner. I have decided, after nine days in New York, that the lower east side is my favourite place here. It has character, is multicultural, you can still feel the punk and rock spirits in its streets and bars and in a strange way I feel like I belong here. Yes, I could live here. None of this seemed new to me but so very familiar. I feel like a New Yorker already! This could work.
After dinner it was time to leave Manhattan again. On the way back, now so familiar, I realised that this would be the last night we spend here …. Tomorrow we leave….. and I really do not want to… 😑
Ok, happy thoughts…. I shared a picture of our fresh tattoo with my sister. Real life exists outside of New York my family and friends. She wrote back telling me that she thinks the initials NYHC meant “New York City Honeymoon” instead of New York Hard Core. I loved that interpretation and I decided that this is what my tattoo means now 😍
Oh, but I don’t want to leave you New York……