For many years, by the northeast corner of 23rd and Park Avenue South, there stood a lovely little newsstand. It was bright blue. It remained, until very recently, an unlikely survivor of Bloomberg's Cemusa onslaught.
I wish I could find my other photos of it
Here it is (was) on Google maps, surviving defiantly in front of Pret A Manger, Bank of America, 7-Eleven, New York Sports Club, and Baked By Melissa cupcakes, across from Walgreens, Bath & Body Works, and the Vitamin Shoppe.
It was crooked and quirky, just like all our newsstands used to be. It had character. Really, it was the only bit of original New York character left on that chain-strangled corner.
I always admired it when I walked by, grateful to it for still standing against the dull tide of glass and chrome. But on a recent walk past, I found it was gone. Some construction is being done to the subway entrance.
"Where's the newsstand?" I asked a nearby construction worker. "Disappeared," he said. "They got rid of it."
I asked another, who told me, "The City took it away."
Then I asked a neighboring newsstand vendor.
"I don't know. Maybe they're putting in one of these," he said, gesturing to his generic Cemusa box. "They did it to me."
He explained how the City removed his newsstand and then took two years to get him a new one. During those two years, he had no business. It's important to understand that the city's newsstand vendors used to own their stands, some passed down for generations, but Bloomberg took them away and gave them to Cemusa, a Spanish corporation that now leases them to the vendors who used to be owners.
"I consider that stealing," I told him, paying for my peanut M&M's.
"Yes, well," he replied with a shrug, "the City doesn't see it that way."
History of the New York Newsstand
More Newsstand Deaths
Hojo's Lost Newsstand
Union Square Newsstand