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    A blind newsstand operator whose business was closed by the city two years ago is getting some help from New York's Bravest in his search for a new place. Firefighters at an East Side firehouse are determined to help Jose Rivera, 56, get back to work, despite a dizzying bureaucracy that seems just as determined to keep him out. "He has more seniority than anybody in the house, and we want to keep it that way," said Firefighter Al Suwara, who calls Rivera "a good friend." Rivera has been lunching at "The Big House" on E. 51st St. - home to Engine 8, Ladder 2 and Battalion 8 - for 26 years, ever since he took over a newsstand down the block at Lexington Ave. But in 2004, the Department of Consumer Affairs shut down Rivera's stand, which it had cited in 2002 for impeding pedestrian traffic. "I didn't know what to do," he said. "I thought it was going to be two or three months [out of business]. Now it is two years." Battalion Chief Jack Mooney, Firefighter Dave Offitto and Suwara have taken on the challenge of getting Rivera a new stand - dealing with an array of city agencies, from the DCA to the Department of Transportation to the Landmarks Preservation Commission to the Art Commission. They've written letters, had architects submit drawings and even consulted a lawyer. But the Bravest have been stymied by the bureaucrats. One stand they had plans drawn up for was 2 inches too low, another 6 inches too deep. One location was in front of a land-marked hotel, one in front of a store window. "It's been a nightmare," said Offitto. The firefighters even got a $12,897 estimate for a new stand. "We were going to pay for this and raise the money out of the firehouse," Suwara said. He said Consumer Affairs had offered to relocate Rivera to various abandoned stands around the city. The firefighters eventually persuaded him to accept a stand at E. 23rd St. and Third Ave., near his apartment. But three days later, DCA withdrew the offer, Suwara said. Rivera, who lost his eyesight in a snowmobile accident in 1969, is reluctant to travel outside his comfort zone - after all, he said, he's fallen onto subway tracks five times. A DCA spokeswoman said the agency is trying to help Rivera get back to work. "We continue to extend every effort - and coordinate with his supporters - to assist Mr. Rivera in finding a location that works and to get him back in business," said the spokeswoman, Dina Improta Roskin.
    ALL GAVE SOME BUT SOME GAVE ALL
    NEVER FORGET 9-11-01
    343
    CAPT. Frank Callahan Ladder 35 *
    LT. John Ginley Engine 40
    FF. Bruce Gary Engine 40
    FF. Jimmy Giberson Ladder 35
    FF. Michael Otten Ladder 35 *
    FF. Steve Mercado Engine 40 *
    FF. Kevin Bracken Engine 40 *
    FF. Vincent Morello Ladder 35
    FF. Michael Roberts Ladder 35 *
    FF. Michael Lynch Engine 40
    FF. Michael Dauria Engine 40

    Charleston 9
    "If my job was easy a cop would be doing it."
    *******************CLICK HERE*****************

  • #2
    What a great story.

    Keep up the good work brothers!

    Good luck.
    ------------------------------------
    These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations I am affiliated with.
    ------------------------------------

    Comment


    • #3
      bravo

      Leave it to the heros too fight the beauracracy and I know they will win the fight in the end. I just cannot understand why the %^##@&*&*)(**^^%$%$ politiicans have too waste time, effort and money keeping this guy out of a job instead of working on more important issues. I hope the media is on top of this one.

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