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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim, Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

City of brotherly ink

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Steven Hammer, Ph.D., shows the three tattoos he got at Olde City Tattoo (Photo by Sami Nigro ’20).

The best places for tattoos in Philly


Many college students like to take advantage of newfound freedoms and new experiences to get their first tattoos. For St. Joe’s students looking to get inked, the Philadelphia area is filled with tattoo shops that offer a range of aesthetics and prices.

It’s wise, though, to do research before committing to a tattoo shop. Most importantly, the shop should be clean. Infections are common and can lead to an emergency room visit if not properly addressed, according to Paula Morris, nurse manager at Hatboro Medical Family Practice.

Most infections are caused by  needles that have not been cleaned between uses, Morris said. Customers should be sure the needles are sterile or consider a tattoo shop that uses disposable needles.

“It’s not something to mess around with,” Morris said. “If your tattoo isn’t almost fully healed within seven to 10 days, definitely see a doctor.”

For those considering a tattoo, here are some Philly shops that are popular among  St. Joe’s students and faculty.

Olde City Tattoo

44 S. 2nd St.

Although prices at Olde City tattoo start at $100, the final result is worth it, according to Cassie Starr ’20.

Starr got her first and only tattoo here, a quote on her ribcage from a note that her mother wrote her: “Love you with all my heart.”

“I would definitely recommend it,” Starr said. “It was very clean, and the people there were so nice.”

Olde City is also a favorite of Steven Hammer, Ph.D., assistant professor of communication studies.

“I’ve gotten three done there,” Hammer said, pulling up his sleeve to reveal three tattoos on his arm: a moth, a mandala and the face of a tiger on the back of his hand.

Hammer also likes the “all around cool” atmosphere at Olde City.

“There are some places that feel very clinical, and then there are some places that feel like you’re in an old tattoo shop,” Hammer said. “This place feels like you’re in an old tattoo shop, and I love that vibe.”

Philadelphia Eddie’s Tattoo

621 S. 4th St.

Eddie Funk, known as “Crazy Eddie,” founded this shop in 1952 and his partners have carried on his legacy since his death in 2016.

A tattoo at Philadelphia Eddie’s will set one back a minimum of $50, with prices escalating with the size and design of the tattoo. While this shop is also on the expensive side, the overall experience makes it worthwhile, according to Takira Fowlkes ’20, who got the the words “Teach Peace” tattooed on the back of her elbow.

“They told me the price upfront, which was nice,” Fowlkes said. “The artist I had was really great, too, and made sure I was comfortable the whole time.”

Kadillac Tattoos Deuce

6722 Rising Sun Ave.

Kadillac Tattoos Deuce has been in business since 2000 and has been nominated for Best Tattooing and Piercing this year by the Philly A-List, a website that rates Philadelphia attractions. There is no minimum price, making it a good choice for students on a budget.

“Their customer service is really good,” Fowlkes said. “Whatever you want, they’ll execute. Also, all of their line work is neat.”

Fowlkes said that she got three additional pieces done at Kadillac: a crescent moon, the planet Saturn and two hands holding the sun. They were all less expensive than her tattoo at Philadelphia Eddie’s, she said, even though they were both bigger and more intricate.

Philly Tattoo Convention at the Pennsylvania Convention Center

1101 Arch St.

If one can wait until February, check out the annual tattoo convention at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The convention will take place from Feb. 9 to 11 next year.

The price is $22 for a one-day pass and $45 for the entire weekend. Artists from across the country come to showcase their work, and some even will tattoo customers during the convention.

Hammer said he got one of his tattoos at the convention.

“I got a tattoo from a guy from New York who came down and was tattooing at the convention,” he said. “It’s so cool because you can get a ton of different styles from different people from different places. Philadelphia has some great artists, but it’s nice to branch out.”

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