When I look at street photography from the 1940s, I see a lot of people selling newspapers and shining shoes. When you look around today and it hasn't really changed much. This guy was selling papers like hotcakes on 46th and Park.
Woman selling mangoes for $3 each. She peels them, slices them and bags them quickly. I saw her sell about 20 in 15 minutes on Broadway and Spring.
Overhead: Cheap cart, cheap peeler, cheap knife, cheap mangoes from Chinatown, baggies.
They still shine shoes in Grand Central station. I haven't shined a pair of shoes in over 25 years. Nor owned a pair of shiny shoes for that matter.
I find this odd. All subway platforms have these metal signs hanging at eye level. They have Braille on them. A blind person would have to make his way down many flights of steps from the street to the get to the platform, then walk around with his arms extended, hopefully finding (and feeling) this sign on one of the countless steel pillars. In 17+ years living in NYC I've rarely seen a blind person on the subway (except beggars) much less one walking around feeling the walls for a sign in Braille.