Miracle Man: Jerry Delakas and his Newsstand

It turns out not all stories of shuttered mom and pop businesses need to end in heartbreak, which surprises me as much as I’m sure it surprises you. Case in point: Jerry Delakas’ newsstand in Astor Place. Last month New York’s Department of Consumer Affairs shut Delakas down for not having an operator license for his shop. Delakas didn’t have a license because he had been “paying a monthly fee to a succession of people who had received operator licenses from the Department of Consumer Affairs” since 1987. In essence, he was subletting. According to the New York Times:

Many in the neighborhood rallied to support Mr. Delakas, saying that his long tenure on Astor Place, in the East Village, should have earned him amnesty. But a judge allowed Consumer Affairs to padlock the newsstand in December, and city officials said that Mr. Delakas had no valid claim to the stand.

After attending an open house at Gracie Mansion last week, where Delakas and his lawyer spoke with Mayor Bill de Blasio, his luck changed and an agreement was reached. According to Delakas’ lawyer: “I think we can say that this is the first of the callous Bloomberg actions toward the little guy in New York, toward the other New York, that have been reversed by Mayor de Blasio.”

Of course the story isn’t entirely rosy. Delakas is still on the hook for $9,000 in fines, which the city wants paid by year’s end. But it’s far better than the alternative ending outlined by Delakas: “Without this I would stay home, lay down and want to die.”

(Photograph: Ozier Muhammad. Caption: Jerry Delakas at his padlocked stand on Astor Place. He appealed to the mayor at a Gracie Mansion open house on January 5th.)