This book is an exploration into the unique continuity that exists in New York City between the past and present of the intriguing art form of tattooing. Here the electric tattoo machine was developed, and has had a unique influence in modern tattooing worldwide. The technical and artistic values that first coalesced here during the early 20th century now are intrinsic to the art form. This creative process was pushed underground in the early 1960s when tattooing was banned in New York. After 35 years of marginalization, the city re-legalized tattooing in 1997 in response to the unprecedented surge in public enthusiasm and demand. Today, tattoo artists explore their trade as never before in the five boroughs of New York City; such rapid growth and change has put pressure on an art that continues to emphasize the values formalized over 100 years ago. Hundreds of color photos illustrate this fascinating text, which includes commentary from artists past and present.