Neighbors Fret as the Dedicated ‘Newsie’ of 86th Street is Hospitalized

Ram Badan Singh’s usual spot.

Ram Badan Singh, who has been selling newspapers on 86th Street and Central Park West for more than 30 years, has been gone from his corner this week. According to a note on the window of the building entrance where he sits, Singh suffered “an apparent heart attack” on Sunday and is at Mt. Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital. (Update: neighbors say it was actually a stroke.)

Even as newspaper-sellers have disappeared in recent years, Singh has stayed on his corner in rain, snow or sleet day after day. His dedication was chronicled in a New York Times feature earlier this year.

The article said that Singh, an immigrant from India, started selling papers on April 23, 1982. He sits or stands in front of 262 Central Park West, known as the White House.

“Mr. Singh’s workday begins around 10 p.m., when he rises from sleep and takes the bus to 86th Street, retiring to the nearby basement to bundle the previous morning’s unsold papers for pickup and assemble preprinted sections for the Sunday editions. He is back out on the sidewalk by 2 a.m. for the first of several newspaper deliveries.

Though most customers won’t arrive for hours, he feels he has to be there, fearing that the bundles will be stolen — as they were once. At 10 a.m., he heads to a cafe to eat, then home to a deep sleep.”

Some neighbors have been visiting Singh, according to the sign on the window, and they report he “seems to be doing a little better and is grateful for the attention.”


NEWS | 11 comments | permalink
    1. Claire says:

      What happened to the wonderful gentleman that used to sell papers by the downtown 87th St 1 entrance? He’s been gone for ~2 months!

    2. Ken Coughlin says:

      Now the doctors are saying it was a stroke, not a heart attack, so I’m not sure whether surgery is planned at this point. I visited him yesterday and he was doing much better than two days earlier. His loyal customers fervently hope for his speedy recovery.

      • chris woo says:

        would you mind sharing which location (there are severral) he is at? i would like to send him a card or something.

    3. Jill says:

      I sent Mr.Singh a get well/ holiday card. Thanks for this article, West Side Rag!

    4. S says:

      That’s a very nice piece and a warm touch that makes the UWS feel like a neighborhood where people care

    5. Larry says:

      A wonderful man….who really was always there. I moved away 20 years ago but I remember him as though I saw him yesterday. An outstanding individual. I wish him peace

    6. B flat says:

      Thank you for letting us know.

    7. Patrick Farrell says:

      Friends of Singh have set up a GoFundMe page where people can donate or leave a comment:

    8. Tira says:

      The GoFundMe campaign is still up and running and donatuons

    9. geoff says:

      In contrast to this outpouring of support, I submit previous statements by UWS readers on other street vendors. The feeling for people who behave oddly, or differently sure varies:

      (W): If he’s willing to sleep on the street to protect his spot, then he’s clearly admitting that he’s a vagrant. Let him play by the rules or confiscate/ticket/arrest.

      (D): Good riddance – I applauded the police action and wish they would hassle that (other) loser

      (UWS…): tired of this whining shit….time to clean the slime from this city

      (M): this guy (doesn’t) have any legal right to operate around the clock…

      (D): This is a quality of life issue! Can’t understand why intelligent people support a vagrant blocking the street, storing his crap overnight, etc. This is worse than the lone panhandler on the street.

      (Big): I’m laughing at him sleeping on the street protecting his crap.

      (J): Please do a criminal background check on this man. If nothing else it will clear up the rumor that he has an extensive criminal history and is a convicted sex offender.