'Humans of New York' Garners Restitution

One of my favorite photo bloggers, Brandon Stanton, aka Humans of New York, has finally received compensation for his work…and I couldn’t be happier. 

As any of my blog followers will know, a while back I wrote to you expressing my outrage and call to action over DKNY stealing Stanton’s stunning photography work for their storefront displays. (See Protect Intellectual Property Online!”)

Well, after much backlash and upset from bloggers like you and me, Brandon, with humility and a complete lack of vengeance, challenged DKNY to contribute $100,000 to the local YMCA in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Why the Y? Stanton says they are in line with his own vision of what’s really important in New York’s neighborhoods. “In places that are more economically diverse, [the YMCA] plays a really important role in providing stability and accountability,” he says. “The Y is on the front lines of community-building.”

DKNY has issued an apology to Stanton and donated $25,000 to the Y in his name.

But, the spirit of good will did not stop there.

Knowing how successful his (Stanton’s) online community could be at fundraising – by teaming up with Tumblr, they collected nearly $320,000 in the wake of Superstorm Sandy — he asked his followers to make up the $75,000 difference in his original ask, enabling 300 kids to go to the Y’s summer camp program. Humans of New York fans responded big time, raising $103,710 in just 72 hours.

To Brandon Stanton:

Thank you for doing what you do. Thank you for being a stand-up, awesome guy. Thank you for taking pictures in New York, of moments that captivate us, that inspire us, that make us laugh, that move us, and fascinate us.

In light of what happened, you could have sought revenge, won only for your own gain…but you didn’t. You took the moral high ground and now local kids and the community will profit because of your kind deed.  

So here’s to you, Humans of New York!

You’re ‘Humanitarian of the Year’ in my book.