The poignant tale of the immigrant children who sell candy to travelers on the New York subway. Spending their lives underground among the rumbling trains, these kids miss home, and Jordan Salama subtly raises the question of whether America really is the promised land. Compassionate reporting is on display in this dispiriting story.
Multiple people, most of them Spanish speakers, stopped the candy sellers to tell them that what they were doing was wrong. “You can’t work like this. You have to be in school,” one older woman scolded a child in Spanish when he offered her candy on the Jackson Heights–Roosevelt Avenue platform. “Where are your parents?” She was intent on speaking with the boy’s mother, but the boy’s mother was nowhere to be found. Instead, she watched him warily as he continued selling along the platform until the next train came and he could slip quietly aboard.