August 25, 2023 | 9:51 p.m
A man from Park Slope is on a mission to show New Yorkers the sky – and not even the city’s nightmarish traffic can get in his way.
Joe Delfoss, 82, went viral on Tuesday after a large group of people gathered in the middle of 9th Avenue in Brooklyn to glance through his telescope for a glimpse of Saturn.
Despite one of the drivers shouting: “Get off the f-king road!” According to Hell’s Gatethe other motorists took it in stride and slowly maneuvered around the stargazers.
Delfuss stood like a proud father as everyone dipped their heads to look into the lens.
“I can show them the sky.” he told the Guardianadding that his telescope always intrigues the often wary New Yorkers.
“Suddenly, they let their guard down,” he added. “They talk to people in front of them and behind them.
“I think we are all hungry for connection, and when you see someone’s eyes widen because they’ve never seen anything like this before, you feel like you’ve made a difference.”
Delfoss, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1976, doesn’t always interrupt traffic to watch the cosmos, nor did he start there on Tuesday night.
When the Long Island native couldn’t get a good view of the universe from the pier, he was about to pack up and head home.
But then he saw the perfect vantage point, in the middle of the intersection of Eighth Avenue and Ninth Street.
Soon after he moved his telescope, a line began to form around him after a nearby indie pop concert ended, and Cornell alumni excitedly gave them a glimpse of the galaxy.
“He was really this kind of Zen Buddha in space, babysitting a bunch of hippie kids who just came out of a concert,” Daphne Juliet Ellis, 26, said. who made tik tokHe told the Guardian.
“I’m in my 80s, and you want to do something meaningful with your life,” Delfuss, a former math and computer science teacher, told the outlet.
“I can’t think of anything more important than this kind of stargazing with people.”
He wasn’t always interested in astronomy, but after having a conversation with a guy in a photo shop in 1995, everything changed when the stranger invited him to a meeting of the Amateur Astronomers Society in New York, and he soon had stars in his eyes.
Anyone can do it, Delfuss, who has been observing the stars for 20 years, said, “and they don’t need a college degree or anything to see Saturn and those rings.”
“When people look through a telescope, they are all the same,” he said.
“Extreme travel lover. Bacon fanatic. Troublemaker. Introvert. Passionate music fanatic.”