His name is Steeve Mackaya. He came to the U.S. from Gabon in 2013, lives in a homeless shelter Uptown and sells copies of the New York dailies each weekday morning from 5:30 to 8:30 a.m. at an informal street perch in Chelsea.
In this Sunday’s New York Times, Metro section writer John Leland and photographer Moshe Katvan highlight the most striking aspect of this street vendor’s M.O.: a scintillating collection of suits. Katvan struck up an instant connection with Mackaya (whose name is typoed in the paper as Steve Malek); a bout with polio as a child has left the African native wheelchair-bound. At one point, Katvan hosted Mackaya at the photographer’s apartment:
Mr. Mackaya spoke loftily about the need for justice and dignity, and about how these were absent from his New York experience so far, especially in the homeless shelter. “We fled from the rain to avoid getting wet,” Mr. Malek said, speaking into a recording app on Mr. Katvan’s smartphone. “And we landed in the ocean.”
Mackaya keeps his extensive collection of suits at a friend’s apartment, since the items cannot be housed at the homeless shelter. Meanwhile, on Katvan’s website, one of the Fine Art Portfolios shared is called “New York in Black and White.” Those 33 shots, a couple of which feature newspaper readers, further capture the unique spirit of the city.
P.S. For those who would like to directly support Mackaya’s efforts, he can be found at the southeast corner of 23rd Street and 6th Avenue.