It was a long time coming for Patrick Conlon, so another three-month wait shouldn’t be that painful.
Earlier this week, the Peekskill Common Council approved Conlon’s special permit for a tattoo studio on 25 North Division Street, which is adjacent to Westchester Community College’s Peekskill Extension. The studio will be named the Speakeasy Tattoo Studio & Gallery and Conlon is hopeful it will open in February.
Conlon’s studio will be the first one since September, when officials lifted a ban on tattoo shops that was enacted in 1990. Conlon had been working for more than two years to try and get the ban overturned.
The move to lift the tattoo ban was a controversial one that came with a few stipulations, including the requirements that studios need to renew their licenses every two years; that tattooing must be done in designated, enclosed areas out of public view; and that studios can’t be closer than 500 feet to any school containing grades K-12.
“This will be the first studio that I’ve owned,” Conlon said. “I’ve been in the business for 22 years. I currently work at the Eastside Ink in Manhattan and Graceland in Brooklyn, but I live in Peekskill. I’m happy to be able to open a studio close to home.”
Conlon, who is originally from Connecticut, is married to Sunny Cover, the owner of the Peekskill Coffee Shop. He started tattooing in San Francisco and moved back to the east coast after meeting Cover.
In addition to tattooing, Conlon paints and does illustrations. He described his tattoo work as being illustrative pieces which can cost anywhere from $150 to $200 an hour to complete.
In addition to offering tattoos, the studio will have a rotating art gallery featuring the works of Conlon and other local artists.
“There a lot of people who don’t like tattoos and associate them with a more raucous crowd,” Conlon said. “But from what I can see, there are so many people who are interested in the artistic side of tattoos and I’d like to serve those people. I’m not interested in opening a McDonald’s style tattoo shop.”
During a public hearing on Conlon’s special application for the studio, people still had concerns over the proposal.
Michelle Moran attended the hearing representing Alfred Weissman Real Estate, the owner of the Westchester Community College Extension building. Moran said there were concerns over the tattoo studio being so close to a college.
“It could be an influence on young people,” Moran said.
Conlon noted that the law already prohibits studios from being located within 500 feet of a primary or secondary school.
“In this case, the learning facility is a college and the kids are quite older and are of a legal age to get a tattoo,” Conlon said. “That said, I don’t want to tattoo someone just to make money. I want to make sure that I have a quality product that everyone is happy with.”
Initially, Conlon said he will bring in guest tattoo artists who are licensed and hire permanent artists as he gets more situated.
“I don’t want to hire just anybody,” Conlon said. “I want to hire artists who can produce a nice, quality product.”