Narratively, a site devoted to untold human stories, recently published an article about the dying shoe-shining business. The piece discusses the changes the industry has faced over the years, and profiles of several of the older men still working in it.
Mays likes to say, repeatedly, that shoe shining is “not like it used to be.” “The other guys all died on me,” he says. “I’m the only survivor of the whole entire group. We were six guys all together. We started working on 42nd Street together—before the stands.”