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The Old Shoe Shine Stand at Grand Central Station

The Old Shoe Shine Stand at Grand Central Station

For years I would walk by the shoe shine stand at the Vanderbilt Street exit at Grand Central Station and sometimes stop to photograph the guys working there. I liked seeing them and I liked saying hello as I passed. Just looking at these guys made me wonder where they lived, how they came to be shoe shine guys. It had to be a tough way to knock out the rent right? I’m sure they made a good buck because back then the chairs were very often full but how did they start? Did they have a wooden box that they carried to a corner to open up for business to shine shoes for a quarter when they were kids? How difficult was it to get a spot at the Vanderbilt exit of Grand Central Station? That always seemed to me like the pinnacle of your career in that field. I never asked those guys any of these questions but I could have. I should have. Although there are still a few shoe shine stands in the city, they are becoming less and less. There is something sad about that.

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