Body Piercer to Christina Aguilera Comes to Avenue A

Screen shot 2011-11-04 at 5.35.54 PMNick DeSantisMaria Tash

If Beyoncé Knowles wants a piercing to go with her latest manicure, she’ll soon have a new place to go. Jeweler and body artist Maria Tash – whose roster of clients includes Britney Spears, Cynthia Nixon, Christina Aguilera, and Mickey Rourke – will open Venus Body Arts at 31 Avenue A. The jewelry, tattoo, and clothing boutique will fill one of the last vacant properties in a group of nine storefronts owned by the New York City Housing Authority, at its First Houses development.

Ms. Tash told The Local that she signed the lease with N.Y.C.H.A. three weeks ago. Venus Modern Body Arts, the shop she has operated on East Fourth Street since 1992, will close once the new one opens – possibly in time for the holiday season. Her flagship store on Broadway, Venus by Maria Tash, will remain open.

With the agreement, the housing authority has now filled all but one of its seven retail properties on the west side of Avenue A between Second and Third Streets (it owns two more properties on Third Street). Vacancies have plagued the storefronts in recent years, owing to regulations that prevent the agency from renting to bars and a landmarks process that often proved too cumbersome for potential tenants.

Screen shot 2011-11-04 at 5.37.55 PMNick DeSantis The future home of Venus Body Arts.

The former Two Boots restaurant space at 37 Avenue A remains empty, and is available for $7,187.50 per month, according to a listing on the housing authority’s website.

Ms. Tash said she has admired the 1,550-square-foot space – with its four skylights and high-traffic location – since its last incarnation as an outpost of Lotus Salon. The potential benefits outweighed the extra paperwork required by the housing authority’s vetting process, she noted.

“I realized that the housing authority is just very specific about who they want, and you have to be really into the fact that you’re going to go through this lease and go through this process and not be deterred,” she said of the four-month negotiations. “Because I think a lot of people have said, ‘forget it, I’ll just try something that’s not as difficult.’”