Residents say one corner in the East Village just doesn't feel the same lately, ever since the city shutdown a newsstand that's been operated by the same man since the 1980s. Jon Weinstein filed the following report.
Astor Place looks much different now than it did the decades ago, but there was one constant, Jerry Delakas. He ran an East Village newsstand since 1987, that is until last week when he arrived to find it padlocked by the city.
“This is very sad, because this is a part of my home,” said Delakas.
“He is the community, he is our standard bearer,” said an East Village resident.
“It broke my heart,” said another.
The lockdown is because of a long dispute between Delakas and the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs, which licenses newsstand operators. Delakas didn't have the license himself, he was running the stand under a deal with the woman who did.
When she died, she named Delakas as the operator in her will, but when he went to transfer the license to his own name, it was rejected.
“DCA rejected it, because I'm not entitled to the family,” Delakas said.
DCA says he was operating the stand illegally. They told him to close, then they fined him more than $37,000 for illegally keeping it open. A court battle ensued, with the city agency winning so far.
“We're about to file our appeal when they slapped the padlock on, and as far as we're concerned he was entitled to stay here until his appeal was decided, we think it's a violation of his due process rights,” said Delakas’ lawyer, Arthur Schwartz.
Concilwoman Rosie Mendez says Delakas deserves to keep operating, this is his only source of income and he's the sole provider for a sick brother.
“In this great city, one of the things we're known for I think, is sort of having compassion and looking at when there is an exception to policy, I think this would be the case,” said Mendez.
Delakas says he doesn't know what he's going to do for money now, but many of the concerned community members who care about him, have been coming up to him and giving him donations. He says all he really wants is to get this newsstand back up and running again.