Guest Blog: The Dad Royal
This Father's Day, we're happy to have Doug Moskowitz, son of tattoo legend Walter Moskowitz, talk about what it was like being raised by one of the Bowery Boys. Before Walter passed in 2007, Doug recorded his father telling golden stories of tattooing on NY's rough Lower East Side. Those stories are immortalized on the two audio CD set Last of the Bowery Scab Merchants -- a perfect gift for dad, mom, your crazy uncle, and especially your tattooist. A must have.
By Doug Moskowitz
My dad was Walter Moskowitz and this Father's day I would like to tribute my late father with this guest blog entry. My dad tattooed (with his brother Stanley) in an era when the lines were bold, the shading was heavy, and the tattoos were always readable. The designs were often about loyalty, toughness and love. My dad could read human nature as if each person he encountered in his life was filed away like an acetate stencil. He lived in the moment and relished the wonderment of the natural world.
Nonetheless, the real triumph of his life was the way he performed as dad. His wife and kids were so important to him that he stuck out life on the Bowery where at any time there "could be good people or real scumbags." He would often have rowdy visitors to his shop who only wanted to fight and he would have to defend himself. Then of course there was the government who wanted to shut the tattoo shops down. So, I asked my dad why and how did you put up with all of this? He said matter-of-factly, "I had to provide for my family ... they come first and foremost", as if my question was from outer space. There was just no way he was not going to deliver for his family. He was a tough guy who would go to the end of the earth to defend his family and his right to provide for them.
As a Dad, he was selfless and you always knew that when he was with you there was no other place he would rather be. He did not buy much in the order of material comforts, he greatest joy came in what he could share with his family. To that end our mom and dad provided us with enough love and life lessons that the kids were never left wanting. We grew up in an environment rich in loyalty and love. Our dad was bold and his dedication was always readable.
He was true old school.