A longtime Astor Place newsstand that had been padlocked for operating without the proper license is reopening after the operator sought out the mayor at a public event and argued his case.
Jerry Delakas says he was able to speak with the Mayor de Blasio when he attended his Gracie Mansion open house on Jan. 5.
"I told him, Mr. Mayor, this is from Astor Place," said Delakas, a Greek immigrant who's rented the newsstand for decades. "And he said it's a great place."
The stand, a fixture on Astor Place since 1987, had inspired some in the neighborhood to rally for the cause, but a judge ordered it closed last month and slapped Delakas with a $37,000 fee.
The Department of Consumer Affairs said Delakas' monthly fee arrangement for the stand wasn't legal. Delakas didn't have a license to operate but paid a monthly fee to others who did.
Then Kelly King, one of Delakas' many fans, got two tickets to de Blasio's open house. She and Delakas waited in line for hours with 5,000 others, waiting for the opportunity to make a personal plea.
"Jerry said hello, and the mayor said he knew the place and we were stunned," said King.
De Blasio immediately instructed his aides to find a resolution, according to King.
Delakas' attorney Arthur Schwartz said within days, his client was able to work out a compromise with the city to reduce the fine to $9,000, and more importantly, remove the padlock.
"As long as he pays his registration fee every year, it's his for the rest of his life," said Schwartz.
De Blasio's spokesman says the city is happy it could reach an outcome ensuring the stand will remain a part of the community for years to come.
As Delakas opened his stand Tuesday, he thanked his many supporters gathered around.
"It feels great. It feels like being on a Bahama beach," he said.
Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York