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United Ink Flight 816 tattoo fest draws fans to Long Island

Kristina Ciccone, Holtsville, tattoo's are an example of

Kristina Ciccone, Holtsville, tattoo's are an example of geometric and dot work style. She had them done at Tattoo Lou's, Bay Shore, August 3, 2016. Credit: Bruce Gilbert

Maybe you’ve thought about it. Perhaps you are afraid of it. But if you’ve ever been curious about getting a tattoo, the United Ink Flight 816 New York Tattoo & Arts Festival runs Friday through Sunday at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City to introduce first-timers to body art.

“We get a lot of people who are looking around for their first-time tattoo,” says event sponsor “Tattoo” Lou Rubino, who owns and operates Tattoo Lou’s five locations in Suffolk County and United Ink with his wife, Jackie. “They have to decide what they want because they have to wear it for the rest of their life.”


The first step in getting a tattoo is researching your options. There’s a wide range of styles, from traditional (hearts, swords) to realism (portrait of a loved one, pet, celebrity) to script (a word or poem in a specialized font).

“We tell everyone to go with something that’s important to them,” Rubino says. “A tattoo is a great conversation piece. It’s a way for people to express themselves.”


Crystal Capdevilla, 22, of Ronkonkoma is at Tattoo Lou’s in West Babylon for her first tattoo, which is something she has been contemplating for a long time.

“I’ve been thinking about getting a tattoo forever,” she says. “All my friends are completely covered. I’m the white sheep who didn’t have any.”

Capdevilla has decided to go with a watercolor design of a sailboat.

“I like the splatter look,” she says. “I have some scars on the top of my right thigh that I want to cover up.”


Many wonder what the physical sensation is like to get tattooed.

“Where you get the tattoo on the body depends on how it feels,” Rubino says. “The pain is a slight burning feeling, nothing terrible. As soon as the tattoo is done, the pain is gone. It may feel like a sunburn for a couple of days.”


Capdevilla is five days out of getting inked and feels fine.

“It was a lot less painful than I expected,” she says. “I almost forget that it’s even there.”

Usually after being tattooed, the area gets a bit red, and there’s limited bleeding involved.

“It takes about a week for the healing process to start and two weeks to be fully healed,” Rubino says. “It bleeds very little. There’s a little bit of oozing during the tattooing process and the first few days of the healing process. You put ointment on it for a couple of days, followed by a moisturizer for a week. It’s important to keep it out of direct sunlight for a minimum 10 days and no swimming during that time.”


Costs and length of time to apply a tattoo vary per artist and size but can range from a baseball-size tattoo on the arm (approximately $250 and 90 minutes) to a larger back piece (ranging from $500 to $600 and four hours).

Attendees at the festival can get tattooed on site with artists from Tattoo Lou’s to international artists from Italy, China, Russia, Poland and the United Kingdom.

“Come in Friday and take a look around, check out the different artists and tattoo styles, then make an appointment on Saturday or Sunday,” Rubino says. “Go to, look up the artists and make a reservation. Some artists do walk-ins only.”


The old saying in the tattoo community is, much like potato chips, you can’t have just one.

“They are super-addictive,” Rubino says. “The first tattoo is just breaking the ice. Once you get past the first-time jitters, the second tattoo becomes much easier.”

Capdevilla is already planning — and saving — for tattoo No. 2.

“I’m definitely getting another one,” she says. “I’m thinking of maybe putting a tree with extended branches on my back.”


WHEN | WHERE 2-11 p.m. Friday, noon-11 p.m. Saturday, noon-7 p.m. Sunday, Cradle of Aviation Museum, Charles Lindbergh Boulevard, Garden City

INFO 631-629-6012,

ADMISSION $25 adult and $12 children (12 and under), weekend pass $60


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