Newsstand Owner Fighting Eviction
Mar. 04, 1986
BOSTON (AP) _ For 87 years, newspapers, magazines and tobacco have been sold in the shadow of the Old South Meeting House, where colonists met before the Boston Tea Party. But those days may be numbered.
On Monday, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority plans to evict the owners of Old South News newsstand to build an elevator to make it easier for handicapped people to reach the State Street subway station next door.
But a co-owner of the stand said he won't leave and likens his fight to that of the colonists.
''I feel like a patriot fighting a foreign invader,'' Larry Vodkin, 38, told The Boston Globe.
''It's ironic that only 20 feet from me, at Old South Meeting House, over 200 years ago, the people of Boston fought and died fighting the same oppression I'm facing today,'' he said.
Vodkin, who lives in Stoughton, has owned the stand on Washington Street with Ray Last, also 38 and of Stoughton, since 1980.
He said the MBTA notified him of plans to modernize the State Street station about two years ago and last July he was given a 30-day eviction notice, which was extended.
Vodkin pays $145 montly rent to the MBTA, which acquired the land where the stand sits by emminent domain from Old South Meeting House last year.
''We feel we have dealt with Mr. Vodkin extensively and fairly to work out a suitable solution,'' said MBTA spokesman Bernard Cohen.
He said officials have spent about 200 hours trying to find a suitable site for a new stand but Vodkin has rejected all suggestions.
Cohen told The Boston Herald that the last of a half-dozen sites offered was one in Shoppers' Park between the Filene's and Jordan Marsh department stores and near the MBTA's Washington Street station.
''It's a good location; it's very busy. This is the best we're going to offer him,'' Cohen said.
Cohen said he thought the MBTA could pay Vodkin up to $10,000 to relocate the newstaand.
''I took a second mortgage on my house in Stoughton to pay $238,000 for this, and, if the T wants to pay me that amount, I have no objection.'' Vodkin told the Globe. ''We owe almost $90,000 on the mortgage.''