2005_08_askpierce.jpgBeing a corporate monkey for the past two years is beginning to stunt my sense of individuality, and I've found myself considering getting another piercing to hide under all of this Business Casual. If I were back in my hometown, I'd hit up the neighborhood joint where all the girls got their bellybuttons done and call it a day, but the variety of options in New York is daunting, and not really something I can ask for reccomendations for on the office message board. I would, obviously, like to avoid disease or infection. Any suggestions for someplace safe?
- Cubicle #217

Do you have any suggestions on clean and reputable places to get body piercings? I've decided to pierce my nose and would rather not get some sort of infection while I'm at it. Or is there a good web directory of places in Manhattan or the Williamsburg area?
- Rachel

Ask Gothamist is scared of needles, and therefore remains body piercing-free - so we can't recommend a place based on personal experience. Yes, there are tons of places to get pierced in New York City - it seems like you can't walk five blocks in the East Village or Williamsburg without finding a piercing place - and you can find a list of piercing places by looking in the yellow pages or googling. Although we won't be taking the piercing plunge ourselves, we can offer the following tips:
- Look for a place that's been around for a while - ask them how long they've been in business, and ask how experienced the person is who will be doing the piercing. Ask if they have any references from satisfied customers.
- Visit the piercing parlor in person. Are they clean? Are they willing to answer all your questions? Ask them about how they sterilize their equipment.
- According to this article on body piercing, you should make sure your immunizations – particularly hepatitis and tetanus – are up to date.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Persons who are considering tattooing or body piercing should be informed of potential risks of acquiring infection with bloodborne and other pathogens through these procedures. These procedures might be a source of infection if equipment is not sterile or if the artist or piercer does not follow other proper infection-control procedures (e.g., washing hands, using latex gloves, and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces)."
- Ask what type of metal will be used and what you will need to do to keep the piercing clean while it heals.
- Be on the lookout for signs of infection (redness, irritation, swelling) and see a doctor if you think your new piercing is getting infected.

Have fun, be safe, and enjoy your new piercings.

Need advice? Ask Gothamist! E-mail ask(at)gothamist(dot)com.