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Protests mean bucks

Dear Editor:With the GOP Convention opening at Madison Square Garden this past Monday, it was only natural that protesters would be attracted like flies to honey (Get the symbolism?) to spew their hatred for President Bush and scream their “Anybody but Bush” vitriol. The reality was that anywhere from 20,000 to 500,000 protesters (depending on whose estimates you believe) thronged the streets of New York and protested reasonably peacefully on Sunday, and may, or may not, stay for the whole convention.Protest and hatred aside, the most important results of the invasion of NYC are economic. First – All, or most, of the 500,000 protesters had to GET to New York. The economy therefore benefits from airline tickets, Greyhound tickets, train tickets, gasoline purchases, etc.Second – Once in NYC, all, or some, of the haters have to stay somewhere. Hotels, tent sales, sleeping bag sales and associated accommodations all benefit. “Crashing with friends” doesn’t count.Third – While protesting, even 500,000 have to eat somewhere, sometime, whether it is pizza, McDonald’s, Starbucks (we know that they will do a booming business with the elite/effete) or even Lutece. Street vendors are going to make a fortune ripping off both protesters and conventioneers alike.Fourth – Toilets. Here is where NYC could have/should have. Knowing that they were going to be inundated with street fillers (Rush Limbaugh has a much more colorful description – but I digress), the city could have converted all of the public toilet facilities to 50-cent “pay your way – and enjoy your stay” cash cows. What a bonanza!Finally – all the fines issued against arrested protesters could be substantial enough to cover the policing expenses not covered by the federal government’s anti-terrorist protection funding. That way NYC comes close to breaking even on that expense.All in all, New York should be grateful to the GOP and should see a major bump in its economy for the week of Aug. 28 to Sept. 3. Congratulations!Peter NicklinAspen


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