New York Food Delivery Workers, Overlooked in Life, Are Honored in Death

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A Facebook page chronicles the deaths of dozens of bike-riding workers who delivered food in New York City, lionizing them as fallen heroes.

After the brass band packed up its instruments, Sergio Solano and two other food delivery workers walked a white bicycle to an overpass within view of the United Nations headquarters.

A fellow worker, or compañero, as they call each other meaning “partner,” had died less than two weeks earlier that September in yet another bicycle wreck on the streets of Manhattan. Delivering food has proved to be a deadly occupation for many of them. Riding bikes at all hours, they get hit by cars, are at constant risk of having accidents and fall prey to crime.

The spray-painted bicycle paid homage to Félix Patricio Teófilo, a Mexican immigrant who, like them, made his living pedalling to deliver food. They chained it to the metal railing near the intersection of 47th Street and First Avenue, where he met his end.

With that solemn march through the drizzle, Mr. Solano, 39, was adjourning an evening of mourning, fulfilling what he has come to see as a mission: illuminating in death lives that were relegated to the shadows.

“We never thought we would be organizing vigils,” Mr. Solano said. “That was never our objective.”

Just over three years ago, Mr. Solano and relatives who are also delivery workers started “El Diario de Los Deliveryboys en La Gran Manzana,” which translates to “The Journal of the Deliveryboys in the Big Apple,” a Facebook page with aims both practical and informative.

The page would act as an online support network, a space to alert of bicycle thefts, traffic accidents and discriminatory encounters reported by Spanish-speaking immigrants who brave the urban frenzy to satisfy a New Yorker’s takeout cravings.

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