This photograph was first published in 1930 in a portfolio of Walker Evans's work, "New York City," in Hound and Horn, Lincoln Kirstein's literary journal at Harvard University. As the first plate, titled simply Sixth Avenue, it was an anonymous image of a pedestrian caught by chance in the midst of city traffic.
Evans favored this sort of street portrait throughout his career. He brazenly closed in on this stranger, whose weary face is framed in an abundant fur collar. Evans's goal was to record a glimpse of random faces against the chaos of crowds, automobiles, and mass transit. In this view, the entrance to the elevated train dominates the right edge of the picture.