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Good Morning: Chinatown Smuggling Ring Busted, Select Bus Service Debuts, Grub Street Comes to the LES

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It looks like we’re in for a beautiful fall weekend. Sunny and 74 today, 70 and sunny tomorrow, sunny and 67 Sunday. And as an extra bonus, Monday’s a holiday.  A reminder that government offices and schools will be closed – alternate side parking rules are suspended.

In the news, federal prosecutors have charged 26 business owners in Chinatown with allegedly running a smuggling ring. The scheme involved “transportation of illegal aliens from China to the United States; laundering the proceeds of illegal alien smuggling from the United States to China; and employing illegal aliens,” Fox News reported.  Having to pay $75,000 each, the victims were often referred to employment agencies and frequently ended up working in Chinatown restaurants.

Beginning December 30th, we’ll be paying $2.50 to ride the subway — and a 30 day MetroCard will cost $104, a $15 increase. Meanwhile Select Bus Service is set to debut on 1st & 2nd Avenues this Sunday. 2nd Avenue Sagas says the new service is “little more than an express bus on steroids.”

Other headlines: the Villager remembers LES activist and squatter Michael Shenker. NPR explores why more Asian Americans have been out of work longer than the national average; Chris Kui of Asian Americans for Equality notes many Asians are reluctant to seek outside help finding new jobs. Several downtown arts organizations are creating a Festival of Ideas for a New City (debuting next spring).

Next Saturday at the Hester Street Fair: the Grub Street (NY Magazine) Food Festival. Chef Seamus Mullen, formerly of Boqueria, is planning three “pop up” dinners on the LES, in a secret location.  Bowery Boogie says an oyster bar, from LES night club enterepreneur Rob Shamlian, is coming to 87 Stanton (the under-construction Slipper Room building).

Lots going on this weekend. Our Weekend Guide is coming up.

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