Friday, January 24, 2014

How 1 resilient East Village resident helped save Jerry's Newsstand

[Photo by Michael Paul via Facebook.]

On Dec. 10, East Village resident Kelly King read the news that the city shut down Jerry's Newsstand on Astor Place. She was devastated. For her, Jerry Delakas was a familiar face in a neighborhood that continued to quickly evolve, and not always for the better.

A subsequent photo that Jeremiah Moss published that day at Vanishing New York brought her to tears.

[Photo via Jeremiah Moss]

Jerry told Jeremiah that the city did not tell him they were seizing his stand he had operated here outside the downtown 6 entrance since 1987. (Jerry sublet the newsstand, and the city later reportedly blocked his attempts to transfer the license to his name.)

On Dec. 11, King made flyers and hung them on the shuttered newsstand. She decided to hold a rally the next day for Jerry, who was still coming to the newsstand every day as he always did.

"I am going to stand up for him. I am going to give what I have to give," King, who first moved here in 1985, told us that day.

The early rallies were sparsely attended… A Fox reporter showed up on Astor Place, though it turned out that she was doing a story about customer names on the cups at the Starbucks behind the newsstand

[Photo by Michael Paul via Facebook.]

Still, King and several residents, including East Village photographer Michael Paul, Judy Rosenblatt as well as CB2 member Marty Tessler, continued to stand out in the cold and hand out flyers and encourage people to call the Public Advocate's office. They also created a Save Jerry's Facebook page.

Anyway, you likely know the rest of the story. Jerry's plight eventually picked up momentum in the media. With the help of lawyer Arthur Schwartz, who worked pro bono, and the intervention of Mayor de Blasio, the city agreed to reopen the stand (though Jerry has to pay a $9,000 fine).

Now that Jerry's Newsstand is back up and running, we asked King a few questions via Facebook about why she decided to fight on his behalf...

What initially inspired you to help Jerry?

Jerimiah Moss's photo on your site of Jerry locked out in the cold made me cry. I saw Taylor Mead being aggressively forced out of his home. I regretted not protesting [what was happening] to Taylor Mead. When I saw Jerry, I was so sad — and mad.

Was there a point where you thought that there wasn't any chance to get a new license for Jerry?

I never felt there wasn't a chance. Never. I just made the commitment to try as long as it took. You have to be committed.

[Photo from Dec. 22 via the Save Jerry's Facebook page]

What do you think was the turning point for Jerry?

Rev. Billy and his choir were a real turning point for Jerry. [Rev. Billy turned out for a rally on Dec. 22.] It helped balance out the abuse that Jerry was suffering. That really rebuilt his spirit. Something lightened up. He made more people aware of the situation in the community.

[Photo via the Save Jerry's Facebook page]

Personally, what was the highlight for you in helping Jerry this past month?

The highlight was Jerry giggling to himself ... after the open house at Gracie Mansion on Jan. 5. He was giggling over my pushing past all the "no's" at the gates of the open house with the little Jerry's Newsstand that we made to give to the Mayor. There were all these "no's," but somehow we got to "yes." He was giggling thinking about it. Seeing him appreciate the odds, and the results, to giggle thinking about it. That was the best.

Photo by Michael Paul via Facebook.

Previously on EV Grieve:
City shutters Jerry's Newsstand on Astor Place for 'operating illegally'

The story about the city shutting down Jerry's Newsstand on Astor Place actually gets worse

More about saving Jerry's Newsstand

Helping Save Jerry

City says Jerry Delakas can operate Astor Place Newsstand


Anonymous said...

He should change his name to Jerry Humbleman.

east village tours said...

Kelly King's focus and determination won me over to help save Jerry's Newssrand !

Anonymous said...

Now will anyone continue to actually shop at Jerry's Newstand once a few days passes? Remember when everyone rallied to save the St. Marks Bookshop, and then a few months later everyone remembered that nobody buys books anymore so the store is going to have to relocate anyway?

Anonymous said...

Props to this lady for seeing something she didn't like and making an effort to change it. Too many peeps (including me) complaining about things, but not stepping up to the plate.Great job!!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, 9:13. I think you haven't been following this story. The problem wasn't that no one was shopping at Jerry's newsstand. He had plenty of business. The city wanted to shut him down because he didn't have the license, which the city prevented from being transferred to him.

Makeout said...

Nice post. "A story about customer names on the cups at Starbucks". I can't believe I just read that.

DrBOP said...

What a great thing you have done here Kelly......and a very interesting use of "new" media helping the "old".....and, naturally, EVG played it's part well.....this recap has put a smile on my if he only delivered to Canada :+)

marjorie said...

Kelly, you're awesome.

Anonymous said...

BRAVA Kelly! What a great story!!!

Gojira said...

God bless you, girl!

Anonymous said...

Hey Kelly. Could you save the East Village? Please? Thank you.

Richard said...

Thank you, Kelly King! Your efforts have made the city a slightly better place.

Shawn said...

Go Kelly! So proud of you! I also cried at that photo! I see Jerry everyday coming to the 6 train and it was like someone killed a friend.

Thank you for saving him!

chris flash said...

A wonderful outcome, to be sure, thanks to Kelly stepping forward and DOING something.

But WHY THE FUCK does Jerry have to pay the city $9,000????

The DeBlasio administration doesn't need to squeeze money out of Jerry in order to save face. Jerry's battle was with BloomBucks.

DeBlaz could have helped Jerry when he was Public Advocate, but he did NOTHING in that post. Now that he has an opportunity as mayor to make up for his inaction, he extorts Jerry for $9,000????

Something STINKS here....

Anonymous said...

Wish there were more people like you, Kelly. Hope you run for the Community Board some day...

Anonymous said...

Maybe Kelly and the crew can help out the "YIPPIES/Zippies at number 9?.