(CBS Local)– Black Ink Crew New York” returns to VH1 on Monday night at 8pm EST and it has been a heck of a year for the owner and creator of the Black Ink tattoo brand Ceaser Emanuel. Emanuel was born and raised in the Bronx and this past year he had to deal with battling COVID-19 and the closing of his Black Ink 113th shop that was on Lenox Avenue.

CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith caught up with Emanuel to discuss the another season of the hit reality series, the opening of a new shop in Brooklyn and his love for New York City.

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“With that whole COVID thing, that was one of the scariest experiences ever,” said Emanuel. “It was horrible and I caught it in the beginning in March. My mom came up here and then she got sick. She had to go to the hospital and was put on a ventilator. It was a trying time and a scary time. She got through it. The world still hasn’t gotten back to how it used to be. A lot of people don’t know that the whole 113th shop is gone. We weren’t able to save it. We were in a fight to save it and then this whole COVID thing happened.”

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Emanuel has taken his tattoo businesses all over the country to other big cities like Chicago, Houston and Milwaukee. The Bronx native has over 10 tattoo shops nationwide and has seen the tattoo business dramatically change since he opened up his first spot. While the business has grown tremendously over the year, nothing will ever beat having shops in New York for Emanuel.

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“TV was so dry without us. The thing with New York is that it’s just home,” said Emanuel. “I know every square block of it. I can never go anywhere else without getting home sick. I always have to come back to New York, I make sure of it. There’s something about this city with all the cultures and it is like a melting pot. It’s always changing.”