The bicycle messenger is a dying breed. Well, not necessarily but it's surely nothing like it used to be. During a time when there was no internet, fax machines or cell phones, the bike messenger reigned supreme. There was no speedier way to get something delivered. The messenger business was huge back in that time, with thousands of riders each day delivering millions of packages and hundreds of messenger companies dispatching calls all day throughout the city. But with all the technology invented since those days, there is no need for messengers anymore however, some companies still use them as there are always going to be tangible items that can't be faxed, scanned or emailed. Today, there are barely fifty messenger companies in the big apple, with very few riders, but they're still out there!
Check out these high quality scans from a 1986 edition of New York Magazine regarding NYC bike messengers. Crazy how they literally used to own the streets. Click on each page for a high resolution scan.
Scans courtesy of Sasha E.