Jerry Delakas’s East Village newsstand, which operated on Astor Place for 26 years before the city shut it down last month, reopened today. The city’s Department of Consumer Affairs forced Delakas to close because he worked without a license, and instead paid a monthly fee to “a succession of people who had received operator licenses,” according to the New York Times.
Amid a groundswell of support from the neighborhood and customers who love him, Delakas asked Mayor Bill de Blasio for his help during an open house at Gracie Mansion, and de Blasio consented. The case was settled out of court, and at 11:47 this morning, a locksmith let Jerry back into the stand he’s been running for nearly three decades. He’s thrilled. “It’s great news,” Delakas told ANIMAL. “It feels like being on a Greek beach.”
Arthur Z. Schwartz., Delakas’s lawyer, believes the reopening is indicative of the new mayor’s attitude toward the common person. “I think it’s the first sign that under the de Blasio administration, little guys are going to get treated better, and the public is going to matter to the person who’s running the city,” he said.
Several people on the scene echoed Schwartz’s populist sentiment. “I’m ecstatic, I’m overjoyed, I’m thrilled, I’m grateful. The lawyers did the right thing, ” said Anne Mitcheltree, a supporter. “Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. We’ve lost a few, but this is a win for ordinary people.”
“They were way off-base to bother someone who is a hard-working, real person, who’s just trying to make a living and support his relatives,” agreed a local resident named Lisa, who neglected to give her last name. “It was pretty crazy what they were doing to him, but I think that was a trend going through the whole city. Maybe now we can reverse it and get some humanity back into New York.”
(Photo: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork)