Inside the world of magazine resellers
By Mark Wellborn and Clint Hendler

It’s ten p.m. Do you know where your magazines are?  Each night, streetwise entrepreneurs comb through Manhattan’s trash in search of Harper’s Bazaar, the New Yorker, Modern Photography, Natural Life, and other magazines.


The next morning, they’ll end up on the street or in the subway, ready for resale at steeply discounted prices. It’s how Tony and Ted (no last names, please) make a living.

“I only go to good places, places where they pay $2,000, $3,000 in rent,” says Tony, whose spread on Seventh Avenue near the Fashion Institute of Technology is pictured and annotated above. He says he’s been selling magazines there for a decade. An average day brings in about forty or fifty bucks, but he has made three times that.

Ted usually works rush hours at a midtown subway stop on the Lexington Avenue line. But he moves frequently to dodge transit cops. “I am giving people a deal,” Ted says. “One dollar for a magazine! If you want to go to the stand and pay four dollars, be my guest.”



Click on the image to
read Tony’s take on
the magazines he sells


Ted keeps his stock in a couple of easily-carried milk crates, and he tries to sell out every day. He doesn’t hold on to old titles or take special requests.

Tony, on the other hand, wheels his collection to a self-storage facility on Eleventh Avenue. He nurtures a repeat customer base by keeping gems for special collectors. One buys anything with Madonna. Another once paid $100 for a 1930 issue of Vogue.

That sort of sale is pretty rare, but helps make up for a lot of hard work. “I’m out there when it’s twelve degrees at night, in the cold,” he says. “I kill myself. It’s not an easy job.”


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