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De Blassio intervenes, Jerry opens

The trials and tribulations of Greek – American kiosk operator, Jerry Delakas, have come to a fortuitous conclusion through the intervention of mayor de Blassio

Jerry, as he is known throughout the Village, in New York, reopened his kiosk after a protracted battle against red tape, which he won with the direct involvement of New York mayor Bill de Blassio.

More specifically, the story of the 64 year old from Cephalonia had sensitized and mobilized citizens in Manhattan, as well as on his native island.

Delakas had been operating his newsstand at Astor Place, in Manhattan, for the last 25 years. Despite the fact that local dwellers, people who worked in the area, and commuters had come to associate the newsstand with Jerry, the license for the stand was never in his name. Instead under an informal subletting arrangement, being the man the legitimate owners always preferred. In 26 years, the legitimate owners changed three times because of death.

When the last owner died and the will was opened, courts did not honor the deceased's desire to transfer the license to Jerry, signaling the beginning of his judicial contest. Initially unable to overcome official obstacles, he had no choice but to allow authorities to shut down the stand.

The closure heralded the beginning of a dynamic reaction that spread to social media and was even the subject of a short documentary. Everyone wanted the newsstand to return to the hands of “their guy”: Jerry Delakas. The newsstand remained closed for weeks, while citizens papered the shutters of the locked shop with drawings and inspirational messages supporting their beloved Jerry.

Jerry was in a quandary, and in trying to figure some way to reopen the stand he martialled all the resourcefulness of his ancient ancestor Odysseus and decided to petition the mayor of New York directly. Thus a few days ago, when Bill de Blassio opened the gates of Gracie Mansion, Jerry waited patiently in line, in the cold, for his turn to see him. When he entered the mayor's office he recounted his adventures with bureaucracy in all detail, prompting mayor de Blassio to do everything in his power to have the license legitimately pass to Jerry. A week later the mayor made good on his promise.

As US media reported, Tuesday 14 January was a different day for Jerry, as well as the whole neighborhood. Jerry opened the newsstand, even though he had no wares, just to send the message that he was there and he was there to stay, celebrating with friends and neighbors, who as it turned out, were thousands.

“People here trust Jerry even with the keys to their house... he is a man you an trust,” stated Kelly King, one of the people that stood by Jerry and helped him the mayor. And to find a man you can trust with the keys to your home in downtown Manhattan is truly remarkable.