Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right New York State icon-chevron-right New York icon-chevron-right The 30 most impressive and regrettable New York tattoos

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 (Photograph: Courtesy Brian Faulk/Hand of Glory Tattoo/The End is Near)1/30
Photograph: Courtesy Brian Faulk/Hand of Glory Tattoo/The End is NearImpressive: It’s iconic and nicely done. The downside is, we would be permanently hungry if we had this.
 (Photograph: Courtesy Instagram/@rey_ink )2/30
Photograph: Courtesy Instagram/@rey_ink Truly regrettable: This looks like it was scrawled on his chest by angry spiders.
 (Photograph: Courtesy Instagram/@joemagstattoo)3/30
Photograph: Courtesy Instagram/@joemagstattooTruly regrettable: No one wants to see a cartoon wolf licking your ginger goatee, dude.
 (Photograph: Courtesy Iris Tattoo)4/30
Photograph: Courtesy Iris TattooImpressive: This is one of the most beautiful and imaginative renditions of the NYC skyline that we’ve ever seen (on a shaved forearm, at least).
 (Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/axlotl)5/30
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/axlotlImpressive: This is a fun and faithful tribute to our favorite rickety summer hangout.
 (Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Matt Kane)6/30
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Matt KaneTruly regrettable: See that last tattoo, guy? That was a tribute to Coney Island. This is a cop out. And what’s with that comma at the end?
 (Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Paolo Piccinini)7/30
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Paolo PiccininiTruly regrettable: It’s terrible, but at least it’ll be completely hidden once that hair grows back.
 (Photograph: Courtesy Tony Tatts/@yonkersink)8/30
Photograph: Courtesy Tony Tatts/@yonkersinkTruly regrettable: That bicep is certainly impressive, but covering it with a giant rotting apple tattoo is considerably less so.
 (Photograph: Courtesy Erica Flannes/Red Rocket Tattoo)9/30
Photograph: Courtesy Erica Flannes/Red Rocket TattooImpressive: Seeing the Statue Of Liberty as a cutesy pin up makes us happy.
 (Photograph: Instagram/@nesmariechicky)10/30
Photograph: Instagram/@nesmariechickyImpressive: Another take on Lady Liberty. The colors are a little nauseating at times, but it’s a cool idea.
 (Photograph: Courtesy Adal Hernandez)11/30
Photograph: Courtesy Adal HernandezTruly regrettable: Even if you did grow up on Yancy Street (and you didn’t, it’s fictional) we’re pretty sure The Thing wouldn’t agree with you tattooing a picture of him smoking a blunt on your shoulder.
 (Photograph: Courtesy Instagram/@jeffrolowe)12/30
Photograph: Courtesy Instagram/@jeffroloweImpressive: Not sure what’s going on with the bubbles at the top and bottom, but otherwise, a solid effort.
13/30
Truly regrettable: This is the cover of The Great Gatsby. If it had been drawn by a five-year-old.
 (Photograph: Courtesy Sergio Luis/Hand of Glory Tattoo/The End is Near)14/30
Photograph: Courtesy Sergio Luis/Hand of Glory Tattoo/The End is NearImpressive: This stylized rendition of the Verrazano Bridge actually makes it look beautiful instead of just, y’know…huge.
 (Photograph: Courtesy Instagram/Carlos Reyes)15/30
Photograph: Courtesy Instagram/Carlos ReyesTruly regrettable: Aye-yi-yi! The attention to detail is impressive, but the end result looks like a hallucinatory Times Square nightmare.
 (Photograph: Courtesy Instagram/@jayrez)16/30
Photograph: Courtesy Instagram/@jayrezTruly regrettable: Having a lazy-eyed Statue of Liberty permanently smelling your armpit? Not cool, dude.
 (Photograph: Courtesy Billy Jordan/Red Rocket Tattoo)17/30
Photograph: Courtesy Billy Jordan/Red Rocket TattooImpressive: Neat, clean, simple—everything Midtown is not.
 (Photograph: Courtesy Derek Martinez/Red Rocket Tattoo)18/30
Photograph: Courtesy Derek Martinez/Red Rocket TattooImpressive: It doesn’t get more New York than pizza. And this pizza is adorable!
 (Photograph: Courtesy Derek Martinez/Red Rocket Tattoo)19/30
Photograph: Courtesy Derek Martinez/Red Rocket TattooTruly regrettable: We see what they were going for, but, er, no.
 (Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/John Heil)20/30
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/John HeilTruly regrettable: Someone needs to clean up this town, starting with this messy-ass tattoo.
 (Photograph: Courtesy Erik Rignall/Inkstop Tattoo)21/30
Photograph: Courtesy Erik Rignall/Inkstop TattooImpressive: Looking at it gives you the nostalgic feeling of taking a cab ride through Soho late on a summer night. Only without the smell of hot garbage.
 (Photograph: Courtesy Derek Martinez/Red Rocket Tattoo)22/30
Photograph: Courtesy Derek Martinez/Red Rocket TattooImpressive: It’s almost twee enough to be regrettable, but screw it, it’s cute.
 (Photograph: Courtesy Derek Martinez/Red Rocket Tattoo)23/30
Photograph: Courtesy Derek Martinez/Red Rocket TattooTruly regrettable: Does the “good riddance” refer to the NYC rocket being blasted off from his gun show?
 (Photograph: Courtesy Matt Buck/@he_draws/Sacred Tattoo NYC)24/30
Photograph: Courtesy Matt Buck/@he_draws/Sacred Tattoo NYCImpressive: We’re never going to not like Queens’ flying saucers. Especially when they’re about to divebomb a pigeon.
 (Photograph: Courtesy Red Rocket Tattoo)25/30
Photograph: Courtesy Red Rocket TattooTruly regrettable: This looks like clown vomit.
 (Photograph: Courtesy Kristyn Emmett)26/30
Photograph: Courtesy Kristyn EmmettTruly regrettable: Could’ve been worse…could’ve been a Mets tattoo.
 (Photograph: Courtesy Johann Florendo/Mean Street Tattoo)27/30
Photograph: Courtesy Johann Florendo/Mean Street TattooImpressive: It’s about the only time we’ve ever actually seen the 7 train in the flesh.
 (Photograph: Courtesy Karen Glass/@karenglasstattoo)28/30
Photograph: Courtesy Karen Glass/@karenglasstattooImpressive: Apart from the fact it looks like Lady Liberty is about to stomp a hole in the Brooklyn Bridge, this is lovely.
29/30
Regrettable: A tattoo is there for life—that means you might want to put more thought into it than just a doodle…
 (Photograph: Courtesy Karen Glass/@karenglasstattoo)30/30
Photograph: Courtesy Karen Glass/@karenglasstattooImpressive: Although it’s unfortunate that the cloud looks more like barbwire.

The 30 most impressive and regrettable New York tattoos

Before you get inked in tribute to your city, let’s see who got it right, and who got it really, really wrong

By Nick Leftley
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It's a given that you can walk through any beard-friendly neighborhood in this city-Bushwick, Williamsburg, the Lower East Side-and see a lot of tattoos. But you can walk around virtually any part of this city and see tats-NYC gets under people's skin in the most literal way possible, and New Yorkers love getting the town's most iconic features inked on their bodies in any one of Gotham's best ink spots. Some of those tattoos are beautiful. And some...some are not. We've rounded up 30 examples that range from the impressive to the truly regrettable. Whether you're looking for inspiration or dissuasion, we've got you covered.

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