"When I’m dressed up, people come close to me, they hug me, they kiss me, smile at me," Mr. Vasquez said in Spanish as he worked at the corner of Broadway and West 48th Street recently. "When I don’t have my costume on, people don’t talk to me."
"They don’t see you," added the 42-year-old.
Mr. Vasquez is among a community of immigrants—largely undocumented—who eke out a living taking pictures with tourists on Midtown’s street corners. As jobs have dried up with the economic downturn, more immigrants have found themselves supplementing their income with the work, or even doing it full-time.