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NYC’s unlikely hero: A subway ‘ninja’ who shares vibes and canned goods

A Queens man is the hero Gotham didn’t know it needed.

Three days a week, Ray Tarvin, 35, suits up in all black — like an “Old West” ninja — and patrols the Fifth Avenue/53rd Street subway station, spreading positive vibes and handing out water and canned goods to those in need.

“I’d see people go through trash cans looking for food — there’s a lot of them in New York City — and my heart told me to stack up on, like, canned goods and water and just, you know, pass it out.”

Tarvin, a slight and soft-spoken temp employee who works security shifts in banks by day, starts his shift in the subway around 3 p.m. most Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

He grooves to oldies on an old flip phone and gives thumbs-ups and fist bumps to straphangers.

Tarvin digs out water bottles, canned food, or granola bars for homeless people from one of the storage containers stacked nearly as tall as he is on a hand truck he lugs down to the platform.

Though dressed like an assassin, the urban hero is not interested in fighting subway crime, and he isn’t trying to convert heathens or preach the gospel.

“I just try to brighten people’s day. You never know what a person is going through — suicidal thoughts, stress, lost their job,” Tarvin said. “People are like, ‘We need more people like you.’ And I tell them to pass on that same peace, you know, so everybody can pass it on.”

Tarvin moved from the South to Sunnyside, Queens three years ago and started his solo altruism six months ago.

Sometimes he’ll grace the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue subway station with his Southern hospitality.

“On my way to work in the morning, while I was waiting, I would always see people pass by and you could tell their spirit was down,” Tarvin told The Post on a recent afternoon on the Manhattan platform while “Saturday Night” by the Bay City Rollers hummed on his flip phone.

“So I said the next person I see like that, I’m just going to do something. It started with one person.”

Tarvin said he’s the “sheriff in town,” gesturing at his black leather vest and costume badge, like Clint Eastwood in an old Western film.

Employees at the Fifth Avenue subway barber and shoe shine shops know Tarvin and worry that they won’t see him for a while.

“He’s become a fixture there,” said one doorman at a building above the Fifth Avenue subway. “He’s there sometimes when I head home at 11 o’clock at night.”