Not long ago, neighborhood newsstands where the place to go for information and daily news. In big urban centers like NYC, those were everywhere. In 1950 there were more than 1500 newsstands across town. Lately people started to access news through digital devices, bringing down print media sales. That, of course, had a huge effect on the presence of newsstands in the city. Today’s numbers are closer to 300 units than the mighty 1500 from back ago.
In January 1986 The New York Times published a story on Bhawnesh Kapoor and his brother, both of them Indian immigrants who by the time of the publication controlled over 212 stands and stores in NYC. Their combined revenue was around $20mi a year. The story went on to talk about how newsstands were the way to make a living for many Southern Asia immigrants. In 2016 newsstand owners and workers are mainly immigrants or came from families with a recent history on immigration. The market’s reality is changing though.
While some persist and remain confident on the important role of print media, others have let magazines and papers come second, thus transforming the stands in a type of candy shop. Displays that used to be occupied by mags are now home for Kit Kats bars and Ruffles chips, whilst newspapers spaces are now packed with souvenirs, especially in touristic areas.
This series dialogs and complements the 1994 Moyra Davey series “Newstands”. The photos try to portray the 2016 reality through questioning about the future of the charming and classic NYC newsstands and the characters that live in and through them.
Project by Nei Valente
Nei Valente is a 27 years old brazilian street photographer and designer based in NYC. To see more of his work visit his website (www.neivalente.com), his tumblr (http://neivalente.tumblr.com/) or his instagram (https://www.instagram.com/neivalente).