Spilling the Ink

Our History

How the ink got into Ink 48

For nearly a century, our Hell’s Kitchen building has housed bold, creative types. In the 1930s, a theatrical printing press cranked out splashy posters for hits of the stage and screen from within our lofty space. The owner of that press, Joseph Henry Tooker, had ink in his blood. His father — known as Commodore Tooker — was a brash former newspaperman who took charge of a theatrical printing company after years of managing the Winter Garden Theatre and other starry venues of Victorian New York. (In his spare time, Commodore oversaw a fleet of Hudson River steamboats. One of his passengers? Leaves of Grass poet Walt Whitman.)

From Hell's Kitchen to Hollywood

The younger Tooker followed his father into the print business, eventually opening a new firm, J.H. Tooker Printing Company, at 653 Eleventh Avenue. Using a stone lithography process, his presses produced dazzling graphics for productions from Broadway to Hollywood. (In fact, Tooker helped found Metro Pictures Corporation, a forerunner of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios.) Many of the vibrant and original works created here are collectibles today.

That’s our New York story. What will yours be?