It's rare to see someone knitting on the subway. It's positively head-turning when the knitting is being done a 42-year-old man with tattoos. NY1's Angi Gonzalez introduces you to a Brooklyn man with an unusual hobby and what happened when a Broadway performer took notice.
Louis Boria stands out in the subway. He spends his hour-long commute to Manhattan, and his return to Brooklyn every night knitting.
"You just see women doing it so when you see this guy just in average street clothes - Brooklynite - you know their like woah whats going on here and they just stare," Boria said.
Boria says the idea of knitting came to him in a dream 10 years ago. He decided to teach himself how with YouTube videos. After knitting items for coworkers at Mount Sinai Medical Center where he's an administrative assistant, Boria created a website to sell his creations.
At first, he was self-conscious about the knitting on the train.
"I would sneak my project out. I would hide in the corner, and look for the darkest corner in the train," Boria said.
But the 42-year-old eventually abandoned his fear of what others think. And so one morning last month, Broadway performer and American Idol alum Frenchie Davis was riding the same B train as Boria. Intrigued by his knitting, she snapped a photo of him and posted it on Facebook.
"This brotha on the train is my hero today," she wrote.
Boria contacted Davis to thank her for the shout out. Then the singer reached out to her 22,000 Facebook followers again, posting a link to his business, Brooklyn Boy Knits.
The response has been overwhelming.
"I'm going from maybe 10 projects every two weeks to now I have hundreds and hundreds of people asking for my pieces. I'm telling everyone – please be patient with me – I'm a one man show," Boria said.
Boria knits everything from booties to sweaters, charging $20 to as much as $500.
Friends and his coworkers are not surprised the business has taken off.
"All the customizable work he does is simply amazing you could just tell him three words and he'll run with it," said Nicole Ng, a coworker.
"It just took one person to snap that photo and go ahead and share it. He's so talented, so creative," said Michelle Torres, another coworker.
Boria is now looking to hire freelance knitters to help fill his orders. And while he's thrilled with the exposure he says what he values most is how people want to talk to him when he's on the train, knitting.
"It's been a blessing. The comments that people are telling me and the love that's being showed. It's all positive and that brings me more joy than anything else," Boria said.