A lonely newsstand at an empty subway entrance

“Read The Sun,” the banner across this shack-like newsstand states, of the stories 19th century newspaper that met its demise in 1950.

It’s 1933 in the photo. I like to think that it’s early in the morning, and these two news sellers are all ready for a new day, waiting for people to come out of the tenements and grab a paper on their way into the subway.

I just wish I knew where this newsstand was, and if these two vendors made a decent living.


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31 Responses to “A lonely newsstand at an empty subway entrance”

  1. Gem Says:

    I think that’s the Christopher Street stop on the one train at Sheridan Square

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Oh yes, now I see it! I think that’s highly likely, thanks for the quick reply.

  3. T. F. Reynolds Says:

    This must be the Christopher Street-Sheridan Square IRT subway station. The building on the right, whose main, residential entrance faces Washington Place, now houses the Monster bar at 80 Grove Street on the street level. The newsstand is still there, but it’s no longer open 24 hours a day. Clearly, they don’t make a decent living anymore.

    • Lynne DeThample Says:

      The newstand is still there? I am a starry eyed 63 year old from Wichita, Kansas and I believe I have seen just about everything historic in Wichita. I am fascinated by New York history though and am planning a trip there next April. Love this site.

      • ephemeralnewyork Says:

        Thanks! The newsstand is still there, and it’s a very lively corner with lots of layers of Greenwich Village history. I encourage you to visit!

  4. Ty Says:

    My dad used to pick up the 500 page Sunday Times there after working the graveyard shift at the PATH substation on Christopher.

  5. John Lynch Says:

    Yes I agree that is looks like Christopher Street station; apartment building is still there.

  6. Dymoon Says:

    I recall newsstands from the late 40’s early 50’s here in Canada, nice memory

  7. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    That newsstand used to have an all-night scene around it…I need to check if it’s still as busy on Saturday nights. I too used to get my monster Sunday times there sometimes….

  8. EBB Says:

    That’s the uptown entrance to the Christopher Street stop on the 1 train. The subway entrance has changed. The newsstand has been replaced. The building in the background, however, is 10 Sheridan Square. It still looks the same. The ground floor now houses The Monster bar.

  9. Richard l. Blume Says:

    Can not tell you where this one was but I can confirm that the sellers worked for the lowest wages ever with the longest hours per day imaginable.
    My day worked in a similar stand at the Hunts Point Station for 27 years and then was able to go inside to a stand in the PanAm building. You’d think it was a step up because it was in doors.
    No way because he had to travel on a bus to the subway and then two trains to get to his station.
    My dad had polio as a child and had to whiten school very young to help support his mom and siblings.

    He worked seven days a week while my mom worked five days at Alexander’s.
    When I was about 14 and still in school I would help out on the weekends but by working on Sunday to give my dad a break. Eventually my brother came
    old enough to cover Saturday’s.

    We helped out so my parents could by a house in Hollis, Queens. This was the country in comparison to living in the Bronx. Our home sat on a 20 x 100 ‘ plot and shared a driveway.

  10. Ann Harper Says:

    Looks like the 7th Ave IRT …I used to take it every day to go to school uptown. Grove st on the right Sheridan Square Park behind and Christopher St on the left.

  11. Zoé Says:

    I’m not sure if I am thinking of the exact stand everyone is describing – but my mild mannered former boyfriend & I were kicked out by a ‘Soup Nazi’ type newsstand proprietor in GV whilst in our 20s for reading a few magazines – for what felt like *seconds* – before buying them. Which we ultimately were not able to do since we were kicked out. ‘Out’ meaning away from the stand. Lol – basically into the street/gutter. I ❤️ NY… (*insert ad music*)

    • Ty Says:

      The proprietor would sternly look down on potential clients and say “No reading!, No reading!” Every Friday I’d get a Payday bar and magazine for the trip uptown which eventually elevated me to only one “No reading!” when I got to his stand.

      • Zoé Says:

        Lol! It was really unsettling! It made us a bit paranoid for a few moments. Where we didn’t know quite which direction to walk in when he yelled at us to leave. We were *already* in the street basically. Lol. Go to another block? We did that thing where you hurriedly walk away then realise you are not going in the direction you want. Then collect yourself & resume your day/evening.

        I may write a book on these brief behind the counter NYisms. Including the old Jewish Delicatessen men who said “For you only (insert joking sum)”…

      • Ty Says:

        My dad, a Massachusetts Yankee, never could get over the Jewish Deli man saying “What else?” after he ordered something.. It really bothered him. I couldn’t figure out why. When I asked why that bothered him he’d say “It’s just rude.” I’d say “But the man just wants to know if you want any else to eat?” Clearly the trip from Massachusetts to NYC is longer than a couple of hundred miles.

      • Zoé Says:

        Lol! That is because we do that at home! German & Russian Askenazi Jews. My German born&raised Berliner (so practically Jewish though not) mom would always offer second & third helpings. Instead of hello my mom would ring me & ask me straight away “Are you eating?” “What are you eating?”

        On my Lebanese side it’s the same (& note we are both Semites). A contemporary Arab American comedian joked that being invited to eat at our Arab homes is like being held hostage & forced to eat. Lol!

        It’s kind of sad that your dad felt that way. Because those old Jewish deli men (I want this to be one word: delimen) were really showing their love & affection in such a paternal way. Not only to regular neighbourhood customers; but obviously to everyone.

        My former boyfriend (also Jewish… the one in the previous newsstand story above) used to joke & laugh w/ me about eating at WASPy people’s homes where they feed you a side of “three carrots” & a small piece of meat or fish etc.; w/ no offer of seconds (forget about thirds!); so that we were left hungry & thinking “Is that all?”

        I rented a room in an ancient 18th c. house on the CT shore from an elderly Park Slope Brooklyn born WASP who had moved to CT in the 1940s whilst a young man after the war. (Not quite a Yankee if not born here by traditional New England calculations!).

        I lived there for two years & had my own little fridge & shelves & pots/pans etc. (No arguing over food & ruined pans!). In two years I was invited to eat their food at a sit down dinner once; despite all kinds of other affection shown me. (Rides to shops/walks to the beach together/going out to eat at restaurants & see films/letting me use his credit card & pay him back straight away etc.). I have only once had less food served to me! At Windows of the World during that 1980s nouveau cuisine craze (a tiny sliver of fish & about three pearl onions).

        I have actually left people’s dinners to eat afterward as soon as I got home! Lol.

        I miss you deli men! Please elderly NYC & other deli men write in. You need to train an army of young people to say “For *you* that will be only one million dollars” (*wink*)… Which meant a dollar. Two million = two dollars etc. from my neighbourhood deli man. ❤️

      • Zoé Says:

        Wow. That’s one of my favourite blogs. I LOVE that Songlines blog. Thanks for filling me in on the Australian Aboriginal meaning which they were influenced by. I never knew that.

        Trash dancing over the grates is a great image.

        News stands remind me of a bagel w/ a schmear & coffee in a paper cup (neither from the stand itself) w/ a daily… take it home… through the grey romantically foggy morning streets back to the apt… sit on the painted pine board floor (made from old shipping crates that came into NY Harbor)… read the paper… drink the coffee… keep the cats away from the cream cheese. Perfect morning.

        Re. Long stories: Thankfully Ephemeral is a beautiful host who tolerates us!

    • Mark Says:

      Great stories Zoé, thanks!

      • Zoé Says:

        Thank you Mark!

        I got a raking here by someone for writing “autobiographical stories” – so your comment means a lot.

        I was a bit worried to use the word/abbreviation “WASP” though. Is that a slur now? Because I meant it w/ only the greatest of affection ❤

      • Ty Says:

        Hello Zoe: Autobiographical. Hah!

        There are millions stories in this city and each one is biographical, auto or not. The City’s draw for newcomers is not for the steel, concrete and glass, it’s from the stories of the lives of people who came before. People from around the world hear those stories and set to dreaming. Of them some will say “I’m going there. I heard those stories and I want to see for myself.” And they often overcome signifiant hurdles to get here. They then contribute to the story and it’s no trivial pursuit.

        There is an early internet blog called Songlines which was meant to accumulate the memories from any one NYC location in the form of a grid map. The Songlines in question referred to Australian aborigines who associated individual landmarks with the accumulated memories of their ancestors and then passed on that information to the young. Every rock stands for accumulated memories.

        Us lifers and NYC are like an old married couple; always a bit irritated with each other but never out-of-love. Many who left are happy where they are but certainly miss the most interesting lover they ever knew.

        For us citizens NYC is a palette of memories from which we paint our biography, a body of work if you will. Live here long enough and every corner will involuntarily set off a burst of stories which blossom into even more stories. We are nothing but stories which together are our biography. And history itself is nothing but the sum of our biographies. Yes, there are other places but the colors here are so much more vivid and varied.

        To me, that Sheridan Square newsstand and the concrete triangle on which it sits feels slightly exciting, like anticipation. This is where my dad got the Sunday times to go with the dozen still warm bagels he bought before he unlocked the door early Sunday morning before eight. To me the aroma of onion bagels and newsprint make time disappear.

        Later this intersection is where I waited for dates due to come up from the Seventh Avenue train below. While waiting there for my date, each passing express train would send the trash dancing over the subway grating and then the trash would settle back down until the next show.

        Now, when I pass by, I smile at the evenly spaced people waiting, anticipating, standing in the exact footsteps of those who came before.

        I guess that Dorothy Parker, Herman Melville, Edith Wharton, Mark Twain, James Baldwin, Gael Greene, Patti Smith, Susan Sontag, Tama Janowitz, Dos Passos and Groucho Marx were a few random New Yorkers who were “too autobiographical” about their lives woven into the fabric of New York.

      • Zoé Says:

        I just left a reply to your last comment Ty – which showed up above in the wrong place. (My new iPhone strings all related emails together in a way that I’m not used to & I replied to the wrong comment of yours).

      • Zoé Says:

        *Look for the one about Songlines blog Ty

    • Lynne DeThample Says:

      Zoe, I love your stories of years ago in New York. Being in Kansas, your stories help my imagination recreate the neighborhoods and people that grew up there. I have a lifelong wish to come to New York and see the tenements, etc. I hear New York is very expensive though. So much history! Thanks so much!

      • Ty Says:

        I’m the third generation here but you know what makes a New Yorker? Accept us as we are, not how you wish us to be. Then, if you stay no more than two days you become a lifelong New Yorker. We will never ask for your papers.

  12. David H Lippman Says:

    Fabulous photo….I remember newsstands like that. Less newspapers, though.

  13. Untapped Staff Reads: Twin Wood Houses Time Forgot, Robot Workers to Fix Subway Hell | Untapped Cities Says:

    […] A lonely newsstand at an empty subway entrance [Ephemeral NY]: “Read The Sun,” the banner across this shack-like newsstand states, of the stories 19th century newspaper that met its demise in 1950. […]

  14. Ty Says:

    I was there two days ago and if you pick up a magazine for more than 30
    seconds the owner will say “no reading no reading” like out of some ancient litergy.

  15. Stephen Edwards Says:

    The photo looks similar to the block where the uptown 1 trainstation sits at Christopher St

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