Buenos Aires is a city of newsstands: there
must be thousands spread out across the city,
and on the corners of busy thoroughfares, it is
not uncommon to find one on every corner.
These newsstands feature not only the many
print news sources of the city, including often
papers from the provinces and foreign dailies
and weeklies, but also the broad array of
general interest and specialized magazines
published in the city.
Kioscos, in addition to newspapers and
magazines, are likely to carry maps, guides,
books, DVDs, music CDS, posters, and trinkets
such as lapel pins, stickers, and theme buttons.
Their content will vary, certainly, according to
the nature of their customers. It is in the more
prosperous areas of the city and tourist venues
where the kioscos are likely to have more
varied merchandise. But all remain faithful to
their origins as “puestos de revistas y diarios”
(stands for magazines and newspapers).
Historically, the newsstands of Buenos Aires,
in addition to being points of neighborhood
information, have trafficked in under-thecounter items, such as censored publications,
porno films, condoms, alcoholic beverages and
cigarettes (boys were some of the best
customers for these items). Many of these items
are no longer censored and are now openly
displayed. Today, there are over 500 such
places in the city where controlled substances
may be illegally obtained.
The Buenos Aires kiosquero is often a
venerable citizen of the neighborhood and as
he or she grows older, comes to be addressed
with the titles of social respect, “Don X,” “Dona
Y.” They enjoy a prominent place in the city’s
cultural imaginary, and many object vigorously
to the way in which their institution has
become associated with drug dealing.
The kioscos in and around major hubs like the
urban train network enjoy a particular
importance, not only as sources of information
for travelers, but also for the wide range of
popular culture they deal in. It is not unusual
to see passengers on the urban trains and buses
readings newspapers, magazines, comic books,
girlie magazines and the like they have just
purchased at a kiosco just outside or just inside
the station.

The Kioscos of Buenos Aires