on the cover

On the Cover of New York: The Candy Sellers

Photo: Andy Zalkin

New York Magazine’s August 14-27, 2023 cover story looks at the migrants who’ve become a regular presence selling candy in the New York City subway system — primarily Indigenous women and children from Ecuador’s rural central highlands. Writer Jordan Salama spoke with these candy sellers about what brought them here, how they navigate the system, and the dangers they face doing this work. He notes that many of the children work throughout the weekday: “Even if their parents might want to put them in school, they know a simple truth: Children sell more.”

In reporting the story, Salama gained the trust of a vulnerable population. “It took great courage for these young parents and children to open up and share their remarkable stories with me,” says Salama. “Many of them had just recently completed a harrowing and often traumatic journey, only to find themselves in very precarious situations, each highly nuanced in its own way. My hope is that this story provides a starting point for better understanding this new group of transnational migrants navigating life in New York.”

Photographer Andy Zalkin documented the sellers at work in subway stations, cropping the pictures to protect their identity. “When I approached my subjects for this story, it’s with the firsthand knowledge that they have survived a very dangerous journey,” says Zalkin. “In this particular community, there is so much fear of abuse, of detention centers, of deportation; protecting their identities and respecting their boundaries is a mandatory part of collaborating and image-making in a situation like this.”

Elsewhere in the issue, Jen Wieczner asks whether David Solomon is too big a jerk to run Goldman Sachs; Nicholas Quah looks at the high stakes of the History Channel’s breakout reality series, Alone; and Rebecca Alter talks to the Riverdale gang as one of the weirdest teen soaps ever made comes to an end.

On the Cover of New York Magazine: The Candy Sellers