Published: January 13, 2014
Publication: Daily News
By Barbara Ross, Kerry Burke, Corky Semaszko
The city’s Department of Consumer Affairs had shut down Jerry Delakas who operated on Cooper Square at Astor Place and Lafayette Ave. for decades after the owner of the license died.
The newsstand dealer has earned points for pluck after he attended Bill de Blasio’s inauguration to appeal to the newly minted mayor himself.
That’s the headline for a beloved newspaper vendor who was bounced by the city out of the spot he occupied in Manhattan’s Cooper Square for more than a quarter century.
Jerry Delakas won a new lease on what had been his life after Mayor de Blasio intervened on his behalf with the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs.
“It feels great, it’s a new start, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime,” a joyous Delakas said Tuesday as he waited with friends for the city the unlock his kiosk at Astor Place and Lafayette St. “Without this, I would stay home, lay down, and wait to die.”
Earlier, Delakas’s lawyer gave the 64-year-old vendor props for pluck – he finagled a ticket to de Blasio’s inauguration day open house at Gracie Mansion and pressed his case in person to the new mayor.
“It put the whole issue way up on the radar,” said Arthur Schwartz. “It was a stroke of luck that someone supporting him had won the lottery and gotten a ticket.”
Under the deal struck with the city Friday, Delakas still has to pay a $9,000 fine for operating the newsstand without a legal license.
Jerry Delakas waited in line to get into Gracie Mansion with artist friend Kelly King with a painted cardboard replica of his newsstand — and a plan to talk to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio after the inauguration.
But he has nine months to pay it off, said Schwartz. And the first check for $1,000 is already in the mail.
In the meantime, Delakas hopes to begin restocking his kiosk with late editions, magazines, candy and all kinds of other goodies and reopen right away.
There was no immediate comment from the city.
A neighborhood fixture who works seven days a week, Delakas started at the newsstand in 1987 when the license was owned by a friend, Katherine Ashley.
The chain-smoking, silver-haired Greek paid Ashley $75 a week to run the operation and collect the profits. Before she died in 2006 and license went to her husband Sheldon, Ashley indicated in her will that their arrangement should continue.
But Delakas’ livelihood was placed in jeopardy after Sheldon Ashley died and the city denied his estate’s application for a renewal notice.
Jerry Delakas was operating his newsstand at Astor Place and Lafayette Ave. since 1987 when the license was owned by a friend, Katherine Ashley.
The grounds, according to court papers, were that nobody in Ashley’s family planned to operate it as their “principal employment.”
So Delakas applied himself and was turned down. The city said the deal between Delakas and Ashley was illegal.
Desperate to save his business, Delakas approached de Blasio, who had read about his plight in The Daily News and other publications.
“It was a great injustice,” hizzoner told the vendor, according to Kelly King, the pal who brought Delakas along to the open house.