Rushing from one destination to another, the job of the New York City foot messenger may be straightforward, but is fraught with difficulties. Whether it is delayed subways, low commissions, or just an unrelenting rain, it is a job that most people likely would not want. It is a job that even fewer people would want to do for over a decade.Very few people, it seems, would want to put in the hours breathing in city air and dodging traffic like the author and veteran foot messenger Kurt Boone.
Sharing his experiences from various New York City messenger services over the years, Boone offers insight into the kind of person who makes his living traversing the city streets with packages in hand for characters and buildings ranging from Katrina vanden Heuvel to Rockefeller Center. Making his way at a hasty clip while always dreaming of something beyond the position of foot messenger, the author devotes various pages to his business ideas, mainly his attempts to develop a fashion brand based around messenger wears. While he reaches occasional successes (such as his own limited edition line of messenger bags) he always returns to the streets with more packages in tow and more subways to ride.
Often repetitive and slowed by unnecessary details (e.g. the names of various messenger dispatchers, owners, and fellow messengers) the book is notable not so much for its investigation into the details of the job as it is for an investigation of the author himself. For anyone who has ever wondered who exactly these people are with their oversized shoulder bags, waiting in the lobbies of extravagant apartment complexes where they may not be allowed to sit down, presented here are a hundred some pages of messenger musings. Concluding with a handful of poems that the author wrote on the subway while on messenger assignments, this slice of one man’s life provides a glimpse at the people behind this often overlooked profession.
Readers interested in the general lifestyle of foot messengers may not learn much however those looking for a self-portrait from a messenger with devoted time on the ground need look no further.
Reviewed by Collin Marchiando for IndieReader