NYPD to Halt Crackdown on Adorable Disney Characters

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Maybe there is justice in the world. The NYPD will no longer pursue and ticket with abandon the various fur-clad creatures bringing joy and frivolity (or, annoyance and hassling) to your Midtown commute. The plentitude of Minnie and Mickey Mice, Elmos, Pusses in Boots, Grinches, Spidermen, and Hello Kitties lurking in Times Square are now free to get voluntary tips from tourists after posing for photos with them, or cajoling them in whatever way they do, as long as it doesn't involve blocking traffic, selling products or photos, panhandling, or being aggressive.

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Community Gardens Fear Wilting Under Massive Cuts in Federal Block-Grant Money

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Growing dissent: Urban gardeners besiege City Hall
‚ÄčBy Adrian Fussell

Looming federal budget cuts mean that community gardens across New York City will likely face a severe, life-threatening drought. And the seeds of protest are already sprouting.

Supporters of GreenThumb, the city's primary community gardening supplier, rallied on the steps of City Hall last Tuesday, April 5, to ask the city to step in. Many of the 50 or so protesters sang, "Give Peas a Chance!"

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Macy's 37th Annual Flower Show: Fake Daisies and Dogs in Floral Snuggies

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Heather Holland via The Lush Side
It's a good thing the wall of daisies was artificial, since the near-freezing wind that swept through Herald Square would have made short work of any exposed bloom at Macy's annual Flower Show on Sunday. Still, Midtown tourists and shoppers took little notice of the icy chill, and flocked to the department store to see the store's new, colorful interior.

The real must-see attractions, though, were the pets in floral dog-Snuggies. One pup, looking thoroughly pleased with his/herself, sat in a glamorous baby stroller, ears and nose peeking out from an assorted rainbow of foxtails and lilacs.

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Coney Island Boardwalk Truce: Businesses to Stay for Summer?

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Not for another year!
The hotly contested beachfront businesses on the Coney Island boardwalk look set remain and keep that decades-old charm, if that is what you call it, for one more year.

Attorney Marc Aronson, who represents the eight boardwalk businesses in the eviction case against their corporate entertainment landlords, Central Amusements, told New York magazine, "We're working on something that'll be an amicable resolution for all the parties and something that'll be really just for both sides, and we're really close."

Details of Aronson's "amicable resolution" are hard to find, but insiders told the hyper-local Coney Island blog Amusing the Zillion that the likely scenario included an extension of the existing leases, but that the 2011 summer season would probably be the last for the "Coney Island 8."

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Zdravstvuite! Russian Interpreter Surprises Court by Being Himself

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Kobina Ampah
It's usually the older, Soviet-era types from Sheepshead Bay who are in court, facing the usual illegal fishing charges. Most need a Russian interpreter. But none expect a lanky, bearded African man to rise to their side.

Kobina Ampah, 49, is a professional Ghanaian polyglot, and he's a rarity among the city's interpreters, who are most often native speakers of the language they interpret. Sometimes, he will tell you, even court workers mistake him for a defendant, not a translator.

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Orgasm Inc. Director Liz Canner Talks About Her New Film, Decriminalizing Clit Classes

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Stress abounds in the life of a documentary filmmaker, especially when the work involves gritty subjects like police brutality, globalization in Nicaragua, and the 1992 L.A. riots. Award winning director Liz Canner is proud to call those documentaries her own, but when the topics left her reeling for "lighter" film fare, she turned her attention to the female orgasm. Eleven years later, her husband is still asking for a vacation. Canner's investigation of the pharmaceutical industry's pursuit of the female Viagra pill, among other bizarre, orgasm-inducing mechanisms, is chronicled in her latest documentary, Orgasm Inc., which debuts at The Quad Cinema on February 11. We caught up with her recently to find out how it came about, and what she hopes to accomplish.

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Coney Island 8 Vow Not to Give Up Against "Goliath"

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Tricia Vita/Amusing the Zillion via Flickr
Snowdrifts on the third rail have the DNQ trains crawling along toward Stillwell Avenue like they were headed for the last stop on the Trans-Siberian. Polar bears have been seen canvassing the shallows. It's home to white skeletons of roller coaster steel and a brutal cold wind. It's Coney Island in the winter, Vladivostok to Manhattan's Moscow.

It doesn't sound like an inviting destination, but Central Amusements International, the American arm of Italian thrill ride maker Zamperla, is determined to turn it into one. So much so that eight historic boardwalk businesses were told by lease-holder CAI in November 2010 to pack up and make way for a development project worth millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs, with the aim of turning Coney Island into a year-round destination.

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MTA Still Broke; Will Raise Fares, Again, in 2013

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Adrian Fussell
Transit officials said Monday that the heavy snowfall late last year cost the MTA $14 million in lost revenues and $16 million in overtime hours spent clearing roads and subway tracks. (Meanwhile, the Bloomberg administration told the New York Times that they were still counting the costs of the storm, but that "the city's bill was certain to exceed $38.8 million.")

It gets worse. The Daily News wrote Tuesday that lawmakers in Washington, D.C., have proposed a national transportation spending cut of $1 billion, which includes a $150 million budget cut for the MTA. So what's next? Raising fares.

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Is Banksy's Identity for Sale on Ebay?

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"If you win this auction I will mail you a piece of paper revealing the true identity of "Banksy": This according to Ebay seller daigroandujo, who leaves us public folk only six more days to elbow our way to the prize of an English man's privacy. Perhaps the morning trudge from bed to bathroom will make a detour to the medicine cabinet for a healthy dose of skepticism?

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Williamsburg's Sideshow Gallery Features a Kaleidescope of 450 Metro Artists

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Two realizations, one in pursuit of the other, strike those who enter Williamsburg's Sideshow Gallery to see curator Richard Timperio's new collection, IT'S ALL GOOD apocalypse now. The first: That every inch of wall is covered with a mosaic of paintings, from ceiling to floor, often with only inches to separate them, and no two alike in size, shape or color. The second: That the art here draws out more than passing glances and demands careful examination, like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that make up no unified image. It's beautiful chaos, and it's all good.

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