144 5th Avenue, 2nd Floor
[@ 19th street]
Tel: (212) 229-0180 / Fax: (212) 229-0184

If you want a quality Italian suit, you buy Armani. There are other brands almost as good... but nothing has the durability, style, and caché of the best. Gauntlet is the Armani of piercing parlors — it's a little more expensive, but the quality is undeniable because Gauntlet is the authority.

The showroom/waiting room is spacious and stylish, decorated with photos of piercees, modernist sculpture, and tasteful, comfortable furniture. A table among the couches has piercing and tattoo magazines for customers to peruse while waiting, or to help with that last minute decision ("Prince Albert or ampallang?"). Most dentists' offices are dirtier and sloppier than the piercing rooms, which are immaculate.

Having been pierced there myself (both nipples) I can vouch for the safe, sterile procedure, as well as the helpful and supportive attitude of the employees. Gauntlet staff are all utterly professional, while obviously rooted in the lifestyle — though most of the piercers and assistants are walking textbooks of piercing technique, none are the crusty, junkie-types you'll find in low-budget, back room piercing parlors, or non-English-speaking immigrants hoping to make a buck off a current fad by shooting studs through genitals with an ear-piercing gun on Saint Mark's Place. At Gauntlet, you get what you pay for, and it's worth it — there's a reason other piercing parlors bill their employees as "Gauntlet trained" as a mark of excellence.

Cash or Credit Cards accepted, payment must be made in advance. Tips are appreciated.

Be sure to visit the Gauntlet web site at for pre- and post-piercing FAQs, hours and pricing, information about other Gauntlet locations, and special promotional discounts.

Commentary by Charles Burns VII, Tuesday, January 13, 1998.