- New York City 01/14/2014 by Kathryn Cusma and Sean Piccoli (New York Post)
One of New York’s most famous newsstand guys is back in business.
Jerry Delakas, a downtown fixture who has appeared on “Sex and the City” and in TV ads, was locked out for 11 months from the Astor Place stand he has run since the 1970s.
But after a long struggle to reopen and a successful appeal to Mayor de Blasio, Delakas will be rolling up his gates once again.
“This is not about winners and losers,” Delakas said outside his shuttered newsstand Monday. “It’s about Americans opening their hearts. It’s about freedom, hope and opportunity.”
Delakas, 64, had been renting the location from a husband and wife. After they died, the family’s estate tried to pass the license down to him.
But in 2011, the city told Delakas he was operating illegally and had no right to the couple’s license.
He was forced to close last year.
When de Blasio held an open house at Gracie Mansion this month, a friend of Delakas scored tickets to the event in a lottery and used the opportunity to take his case directly to the new mayor.
Delakas and the friend, Kelly King, waited with thousands in the rain, and when they got a second to shake de Blasio’s hand, they made their pitch.
“We had three or four words,” King said. “It was very quick, but he was very supportive. It was very surprising. We were bewildered.”
De Blasio told the newspaper hawker that his business was a “great place,” Delakas said.
The mayor then told Delakas that he was aware of the lockout and that it was a great injustice to the neighborhood legend.
De Blasio had his aides get to work on reopening the stand, Delakas said.
“This is a part of my life,” Delakas said. “I’ve spent 26 long years watching buildings grow and the neighborhood change.”
Under a deal enabled by the new mayor, the Greek immigrant will get back to peddling papers and cigarettes as early as Tuesday.
He’ll pay a $9,000 fine in nine monthly installments, Delakas and his lawyer, Arthur Schwartz, said Monday.
“I’m waiting for the lock to be taken off,” Delakas said, “and then it will be business as usual.”
Jerry Delekas celebrates Monday at his soon-to-reopen newsstand, saved by a chance meeting with Mayor De Blasio. Photo: James Messerschmidt