A crisis has enveloped the Iona College campus in New Rochelle. Students are bewildered and fearful. Their fate, such as it is, rests uneasily in the hands of the New Rochelle Board of Appeals on Zoning which will meet March 6, 2012 to consider applications by two delis on North Avenue to permit 24 hour operation.
Ever since last fall, after numerous summonses, the Deli Mart at the corner of Hubert Place and North Avenue has been closed for 7 hours out of every 24. The Deli Mart located at 671 North Avenue was forced to cut back its 24/7 hours of operation and close from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. due to enforcement of existing laws in the New Rochelle City Code.
Sinead Knightly, reporting for The Ionian, quotes an Iona College sophomore as calling the decision to limit the hours of operation of a deli near the school's campus as "the apocalypse".
Students are reportedly very upset.
Knightly expresses horror that the New Rochelle City Council can "dictate Deli Mart's hours".
One irate student went so far as to click "add group" and type in the words "Petition to keep deli mart open 24/7 please join". 30 other students rallied to the cause by moving a cursor several inches across their computer screen and clicking a "join" button.
As is well-known throughout New Rochelle, it is nearly impossible to get a cup of coffee, soda or a snack in the area around Iona College after 11 p.m.
Courtesy Mobil at 657 North Avenue is open 24/7 and does sell a wide range of candy, sweet and salty snacks, soda and juice, but the entrance is more than 173 feet away from the front door of the Deli Mart. The Mirage Diner at 690 North Avenue is also open 24/7 but, inexplicably, does not sell Red Bull. The diner is a stunning 212 feet away from the Deli Mart. Within a 2 minute walk from the Deli Mart is a McDonald's, the Beechmont Tavern and Cannone's Pizza, all of which stay open late and sell coffee, food, and soda but not at 3 a.m. as required by college students. A short taxi ride away are large supermarkets that sell tens of thousands of grocery items at all hours of the day and night.
Deli Mart has been a model citizen for years in New Rochelle, joining such august establishments as Tostado’s Deli and Hoots Super Stop in selling alcohol to minors and peddling the now-banned Four Loko caffeinated alcohol drink, among their many civic contributions.
In a email obtained exclusively by Talk of the Sound, a Deli Mart critic expressed concern that "counsel for the applicants will be seeking to pack the meeting with Iona College students". Opponents have vowed to respond in kind, setting up a battle royale at the City Hall Annex on Beaufort.