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Get to ‘No’ Normal Bob Smith, Union Square’s Chronicler of Kooks

“No Your City,” Nicholas Heller’s brilliant YouTube series of short docs, normally focuses on colorful street characters like Ms. Colombia (the neon-bearded cross-dresser with the pet pigeon), equally outré stylist Wendell, and “Mosaic Man” Jim Power. But today, to cap off the second season of the series, Heller is turning the lens on a fellow documentarian of Union Square’s eccentrics, “Normal Bob Smith.”

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Photos: May Day March Calls For Workers Rights and End to Police Brutality

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An estimated 1,000 protesters rallied in Union Square Friday afternoon for a May Day rally for worker and immigrant rights. People gathered in support of issues from raising the minimum wage to fair and equal pay for women, but this year May Day meant a lot more to many people-with the death of Freddie Gray, the subsequent violent protests in Baltimore, Maryland, and the indictment today of six police officers in connection to Gray’s death, racism among the police was one of the main messages, if not the most prevalent issue, taken up by the protesters.

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Photos+Video: Arrests and Injuries as New Yorkers Protest Police Brutality

(Photo: Scott Lynch)

(Photo: Scott Lynch)

Over 100 people were arrested in New York City last night as hundreds protesting the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore police custody gathered in Union Square and marched through the streets.

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Elizabeth Warren President Presents Herself to Fans

(Photo: Mary Reinholz)

(Photo: Mary Reinholz)

Elizabeth Warren has said repeatedly that she doesn’t want to run for president, but she sure sounded like a contendah last night. The Massachusetts senior senator cut a commanding presence while plugging the paperback edition of A Fighting Chance at Barnes & Noble Union Square.

“My story is America’s story,” Warren intoned to thunderous applause from about 300 fans who had purchased her book in order to hear her speak (not exactly Hillary numbers, but still). She had just finished an account of how her mother’s minimum-wage job, taken after her father’s heart attack, had helped save her family from going under and allowed her to attend a community college that cost a mere $50 per semester.

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Tuscan Restaurant-Retail Hybrid ‘Coming Soon’ to Union Square

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

Over the weekend we noticed signage for Mi Garba up at 129 Fourth Ave., the former home of Dryden Gallery Space near Union Square. According to the Post, the company, which stocks European supermarkets with freshly prepared Tuscan foods, is planning a 10-table restaurant where clothing items and food and wine will also be for sale.
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Hundreds Gathered in Union Square For Charlie Hebdo Victims

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

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Hundreds gathered in Union Square last night to show solidarity for the victims of yesterday’s terrorist attack in Paris. A crowd of a few hundred people — many of them French speakers and many holding signs proclaiming “Je Suis Charlie” — silently huddled together in the biting cold and occasionally broke into chants of “Egalité!”, “Expression!”, “New York est Paris,” and “Nous sommes Charlie! We are Charlie!” A candlelit memorial displayed the controversial covers that may have caused at least two gunmen to storm the satirical magazine’s offices yesterday, killing 12 and wounding others.
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Over 200 Arrested As Thousands Return to the Streets to Protest Police Killings

(Photo: Christopher Troost)

(Photo: Christopher Looft)

Thousands of demonstrators returned to the streets of New York last night to protest a grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer in the death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, in July. For hours the marches fanned out across the city, snarling traffic in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn, and leading to more than two hundred arrests. The charges included disorderly conduct and obstructing vehicular traffic, according to the New York Police Department.
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Photos, Video: Ferguson Protesters Again Flooded the Streets (and Highways, and Bridges)

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A day after protesters blocked the Manhattan and Triborough Bridges, demonstrators once again took to the streets — this time in far greater numbers — to protest a grand jury’s decision not to charge Darren Wilson.
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10 Holiday Markets That Might Just Make You Look Forward to Winter

(Photo: Shira Levine)

(Photo: Shira Levine)

The holidays seem to come earlier and earlier every year (yesterday, a reader sent us this photo of decorations going up on the Lower East Side) but that’s just fine with us. Tis the season to get some sweet shopping done at these local holiday markets.
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BrooklynXchange Ain’t Happening, But BK Vendors Galore in Union Square

1780148_791066680955463_6505091718767099592_o-280x128Despite going to the trouble of making a super Brooklyn-y promo video, the market that had hoped to bring Brooklyn makers to Soho during the holiday season has decided to delay its launch. BrooklynXchange posted the following message, informing followers that it was “unable to curate a full compliment of traders that reflect the values of what the BrooklynXchange is to be.”
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Protesters Fracked Up Andrew Cuomo’s Book Signing

(Photo: Mary Reinholz)

(Photo: Mary Reinholz)

It’s safe to say Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s appearance at Barnes & Noble in Union Square last night wasn’t quite as electrifying as Russell Brand’s at the Strand, nor did he draw the throngs that wrapped around the block for Hillary Clinton’s appearance in June. But he did rile up a group of protesters as he signed copies of his first book, a hefty tome titled All Things Possible: Setbacks and Success in Politics and Life.
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