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Seeing the Sights

The Department of Consumer Affairs proposed earlier this week to cap the number of pedicabs in New York to 325. We find that limit way too high, as we object to the damned things on any number of levels, not least the incessant jingle-jingle that seems to follow you through midtown these days. All that said, were we forced to ride in one, like these chicks photographed at Fifth and 57th yesterday afternoon, we'd totally take some pictures of the driver's ass, too. Related: Agency Proposes Limit on Number of Pedicabs [amNY]

Council: 2; Mayor: 0

• The City Council overrode Bloomberg's veto and instituted a ban on metal baseball bats in high schools. And council members did the same with his veto of pedicab restrictions. A two-hitter, if you will. [Bloomberg] • President Bush is in town today for a speech and a photo op at the Harlem Village Academy Charter School, because it's been doing well under the No Child Left Behind act. We're sure the city had nothing to do with the improvement! At any rate, enjoy the gridlock. [amNY] • Historian David Halberstam, Pulitzer-winning legend of New York journalism died in a Bay Area car crash. Halberstam covered the Vietnam war for the Times and went on to write dozens of widely read books on that and other subjects. [WNBC] • The condo-weary Upper West Side is making like the Lower East and mulling a height limit on buildings. Under a proposed plan, all new construction west of the park between 97th and 110th Street would top off at about fourteen stories. [NYDN] • And the Waverly Inn — still not officially opened! — got slapped with 38 points for nine violations by the Health Department, including "mouse activity." We're sure our Grub Street brethren will have more to say, so let us just quickly smile at Mr. Carter's plan for a "Waverly cat" to deal with the mice. [NYT]

Pedicab Junction

Like pedicabs? Get ready to see a lot of them on eBay. The city is finally is set to pass measures regulating our suddenly flourishing cyclo-rickshaw industry. Of the roughly 500 of those babies currently on the streets, at least 175 will be pulled: The City Council has settled on 325 as the nicely arbitrary-sounding number of pedicab licenses it's willing to grant. Lest NYC turn into Bangkok with its tuk-tuks, all electric "assist" engines will also have to come off; it's all about the drivers' well-toned calf muscles from now on. (Which, to be honest, is the only reason any locals we know can tolerate the things.) For the cherry on top, the NYPD reserves the right to ban pedicabs from any street at any time, to the apparent joy of the Post (where "Pedi-Pests" must rank among the paper's worst coinages). We can't say we have a problem with any of this. But we wonder if the City Council is focusing on the right thing first. Where's the sorely needed legislation to regulate those mutant- squid-looking seven-seater "PartyBikes" infesting Times Square? No calves could justify those. City Puts Brakes on Pedi-Pests [NYP]

Giuliani's Horse Manure

• Deceased cop Cesar Borja may not have been the hero the press claimed, but it doesn't mean the issue he symbolized is off the table. Mayor Bloomberg says that post-9/11 illnesses are costing the city $400 million a year, and called for $1 billion in federal aid. [Bloomberg] • Giuliani's presidential run is getting more entertaining by the hour. Yesterday, the ex-mayor stumped at a farm-equipment expo, saying he's not "an expert" on the subject but will be by the end of the campaign. Uh-huh. [AP] • Schools chancellor Joel Klein is rolling back some new rules in the wake of the city's school-bus fiasco. For instance, 5-year-olds may now not have to navigate Manhattan on their own, MetroCard in hand. [NYP] • The City Council has been threatening to regulate pedicabs for a while now, but this time, they're serious: Say hello to licensing, compulsory insurance, safety inspections, and a citywide pedicab cap at 300 three-wheelers (there are about 500 now). [amNY] • And fill your Valentine's Day with images of old codgers coupling: The Times drops a feature about local sex educators who grapple with the Greatest Generation's pharmaceutically induced sexual renaissance. Most haunting line: "collapsed uterus can complicate penetration." [NYT]

Pedicab Junction

It's pedicabs versus taxi cabs versus everyone else in the battle for Manhattan's asphalt these days — or at least so the Post argued yesterday. (It's apparently "'Pedi'-monium!") But the real turf war, according to pedicab drivers, is among those pedicabbies themselves — because a glut of drivers, many of them short-termers from places like Turkey, Russia, and Poland, means intense competition. It's leading to passenger-swiping, gimmicky "transpotainment," and criticisms of those foreign drivers. (Who we always thought were just taking the fares Americans didn't want to take.)