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Friday the 13th Tattoo Deal for $13 Draws Hundreds of Fans

By Serena Solomon | December 16, 2013 9:46am
 Every Friday the 13th Daredevil Tattoo on Division Street offers $13 tattoos.
Friday the 13th Tattoos
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LOWER EAST SIDE — Rebecca Camacho warded off the notorious bad-luck Friday the 13th with an unusual charm: getting the words "Good Luck" etched onto her right ankle.

"It just stood out to me," said Camacho, 23, an aspiring actress who lives on the Upper West Side. "I wanted to know I had good luck all the time."

Camacho was among hundreds of people who lined up on Friday for ink at Daredevil Tattoo on Division Street — which offers $13 tattoos every Friday the 13th. (For those wondering, the next Friday the 13th falls on June 13, 2014.)

Daredevil is one of several tattoo parlors in the city that offer a deal every Friday the 13th. The parlor gives customers a choice of more than 30 simple and classic designs, all for just $13 (and a traditional $7 tip for good luck), organizers say. The deal only applies to small, special tattoo designs that are only released on the day of the deal and are just posted on the shop's front window.

"Back in the day, you would just walk in the door and pick something off the wall," said Daredevil co-owner Michelle Myles, of the industry that has since evolved into a pricier, customized art form. "It is a throwback to then."

The event, inspired by Dallas-based tattoo artist Oliver Peck, keeps eight tattooists at Daredevil busy for a long 10-hour day, with 200 or more clients walking out the door newly inked.

Myles believes Daredevil was one of the first stores to bring Peck's idea to New York City in 2000. Since then, other stores around the city have started their own Friday the 13th events.

"It really gets your tattoo chops up," Myles said of the 30 to 40 tattoos she turns out each Friday the 13th. "The next day after a Friday the 13th you are always a lot faster."

The wait for the $13 tattoos can reach five hours, but after years of doing Friday the 13th tattoos, Daredevil's staff now lets customers leave their phone number and come back when it's their turn.

Myles said the day makes tattoos more accessible, by eliminating the shop's regular $100 minimum charge. The store doesn't make any money through the special.

The tiny tattoos appeal to people who can't commit to a larger tattoo, and just want to experiment with something little, without much investment, they said.

"They are so small, so if you don't like them you can easily get them covered up later," said Joe Shoresky, 23-year-old electrician who lives in Williamsburg.

Shoresky had just received his second Friday the 13th tattoo — a Daffy Duck head on his ankle.

"When I saw Daffy Duck I thought that fits me because I grew up watching him," Shoresky said.

Die-hard Friday the 13th tattoo participant Donna Szabo and her daughter Katherine just got their sixth tattoo under the deal.

"They say once you get one, you get hooked," said Donna Szabo, 53, as she waited in line at Daredevil Tattoo on Division Street.

Szabo never intended to start a tradition, but after her first trip to Daredevil a couple of years ago to keep her daughter company, she got so cold while waiting in the line outside, she thought, "I'm so cold, I don't care — I'm getting one." 

Now she has a growing collection, including a unicorn, ladybug and a diamond.

"It hurts, but having a baby is much worse," she said.