Ousted Astor Place Newsstand Operator to Return Under Deal With City
EAST VILLAGE — A newsstand operator who was ousted from his longtime East Village kiosk has struck a deal with the city that will allow him to return once he begins paying a $9,000 fine.
Jerry Delakas, 64, could reopen his Astor Place newsstand as soon as Tuesday, after the Department of Consumer Affairs agreed Friday to issue him a license for the business he has run for the past 26 years, according to court documents and Delakas' lawyer.
Delakas had battled the city in court and even appealed directly to Mayor Bill de Blasio, after city officials locked him out of the newsstand in December during the last weeks of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration, saying Delakas had been running the newsstand illegally because the license belonged to someone else.
"This is not about winners or losers — this is about emotional moments," said Delakas, 64, a Greek immigrant who lives on the Upper West Side, at a press conference in front of the newsstand Monday afternoon. "Americans open their hearts for needs."
Delakas must pay the city $1,000 for a new license before he can reopen, plus the first $1,000 out of a $9,000 fine, according to legal documents.
He has to pay another $3,000 in May, $2,000 in August and $3,000 by Nov. 1, according to the documents.
"I think it shows a different stance on small business [under de Blasio], and a lot of those smaller businesses that have been set upon by city government should find this encouraging to fight back," said Advocates for Justice lawyer Arthur Schwartz, who is representing Delakas.
Both Delakas and Schwartz attributed the breakthrough to an unofficial meeting Delakas had with de Blasio more than a week go, when Delakas and a supporter told the mayor about the newsstand owner's plight during an open house at Gracie Mansion.
"We are glad we could reach an outcome that ensures Jerry's will remain a part of this community for years to come," said Bill de Blasio's press secretary Phil Walzak.
Schwartz and Delakas were arranging Monday to get back the newsstand's contents, which were stored in Brooklyn while it was closed, Schwartz said. They hope to have it back open by Tuesday, he said.
Delakas has been running the newsstand since 1987, but he never had the license transferred to his own name after the city blocked numerous attempts by the family who held the license to do so. Then, in 2010, the city temporarily locked Delakas out, calling the shared license arrangement illegal, according to the Daily News.
Delakas' latest eviction enraged many of his customers, who have held protest rallies and even donated hundreds of dollars to help him through weeks of no income.
Marty Tessler, an East Village resident of 27 years, said he had often left parcels at Delakas' newsstand for friends to pick up.
"I would say 'I'm leaving it at Jerry's newsstand. I'm not in the neighborhood,'" Tessler said.
"That is the essence of what Greenwich Village is all about — community, people getting together," he added.