Flower Man of Harlem Recaptures His Corner

17FLOWERMAN-master675Sony Gibbs is back on his corner.

Nearly five months after New York officials forced Mr. Gibbs from his spot on the edge of a Harlem playground because he did not have a vending permit, the city has welcomed him back this month, allowing him to sell flowers on the sidewalk where he had operated for 23 years.

Mr. Gibbs, 71, still lacks a permit, but he now has an official agreement with the Department of Parks and Recreation that allows him to set up again at East 135th Street and Fifth Avenue to sell his floral arrangements and give his free chess lessons.

Residents who learned to play chess from Mr. Gibbs contacted the parks department after an article appeared in The New York Times in September describing his plight and detailing the more than 700 signatures he had gathered on a petition.


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