Alex Daily, 25

Fifth Ave between 19th and 20th Sts

Photograph: Jay Muhlin

Goin' to grad school?
Yeah, I want to study library science.

You don't look like a librarian.
I'm a bike messenger right now.

Doing a 180?
Yep. I'm hoping to get away from all the irrational anger that comes with my job. There's only so much disrespect you can take, you know?

What, from aggressive drivers?
Getting cut off is part of it. And people don't really treat you like a human being.

What do they treat you like?
Well, you're not allowed to walk into the front of buildings—you're shooed to the freight entrance. You're very much viewed as the hired help. It starts to eat away at your self-worth. Or at least it gets to me.

Man, you need to organize and demand some messenger rights.
[Laughs] I think there are probably groups with more pressing concerns.

Maybe so. So why library science?
I think it's a powerful thing to be able to assist people in their search for information. I've always been interested in academia—I'd like to get a dual degree in history so I can be a reference librarian.

Are you gonna be one of those power-mongering librarians who glares over the tops of his eyeglasses?
[Laughs] Nah, it's not a power trip. It's helping people use information to empower themselves that holds the appeal to me.

Hey, why don't bike messengers wear deodorant?
Because it's a losing battle.

More thoughts from Alex

"I live in Bed-Stuy. I never felt any degree of animosity when I first moved there—other than aimless commentary like, "Are you lost?" But now that there's an ever-growing number of young white folk, people seem angrier."

"I hate the tag 'artist'—there are so many entitled people who refer to themselves as artists but don't seem to lift a finger to do anything. I enjoy art as a hobby but wouldn't refer to myself that way."

"My favorite outdoor activity is no longer permitted. It was at the North 3rd waterfront in Brooklyn. You could sit on the side of an abandoned warehouse overlooking the city and have a beer. People are getting trespassing citations more and more now, so I've stopped. It doesn't warrant multiple court appearances just to have a beer outside."