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Don't Fear the River, Lower East Siders!

Escalator vigilantes in Union Square, riverside Ping-Pong for the LES, and (gasp) a "sick" dog run in the Slope. Yep, it's Freaky Friday in our daily boroughs report.

Stuy Town Residents Finally Get to Have Puppies!

Cuddly, scrumptious puppies! The people who live there must be so happy! Or not: "We will now have sidewalks like the rest of the city with puddles of urine and smears of dog poop," grumbles one. All this and more in our daily roundup of neighborhood news.

Video: New York Women on Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton
Is a vote for Hillary Clinton an act of feminism? Should she have cried? Is it more important to have the first black man or the first woman president? These are the kinds of questions that Democratic-primary voters have been asking themselves during the most riveting election season in decades. According to a recent New York Times/CBS News poll, women are evenly split between Clinton and opponent Barack Obama. More women than men also believe that the media is tougher on Clinton than on her male opponents. But what do New York women think? We put these questions to several of them in Union Square yesterday and found that Clinton cannot take even her constituents’ votes for granted. Watch the video.

By Jonah Green

Danny Meyer Finds Manhattan Prohibitive, But a Shake Shack in a Sports Stadium? That He Could See

Considering that only banks can afford to rent ground-floor spaces in Manhattan these days, Danny Meyer has a bold suggestion: the waterfront! Discussing the future of public life with New Yorker architecture critic Paul Goldberger at a forum of the Design Trust for Public Space, Meyer noted that rent pressures had grown absurd in the island's heart. (Starting rent for Union Square Café in 1985: $8 per square foot. Asking rent for the Zen Palate space on Park Avenue South: $300 per square foot.) His solution? "We have all these appendages to Manhattan called piers, and if the city took the opportunity to rent those spaces only to small businesses, that would be a vigorous signal," he said. Meyer said he'd learned that restaurants must echo their surroundings, which we realize means a new Union Square operation would have to carry themes from Whole Foods and Max Brenner. "If we ever do another Shake Shack, we'd want it to look like where it is. The fascination of doing something in a sports stadium jazzes me." Oh, yeah? Citi Field is looking better and better. —Alec Appelbaum Related: Hark! New Shake Shack to Open at Shea Stadium

Cobble Hill May Remain Without a Trader Joe's After All

Bedford-Stuyvesant: SpongeBob SquarePants, a Care Bear, a tiny Santa, and various scary baby dollies gathered here recently for an alfresco forum on gentrification and its effect on the area's creepy marginalized toy population. [Curbed] Cobble Hill: A rumor's out there that Trader Joe's is not coming here after all. Cobblers may have to keep schlepping their little sustainable satchels to Union Square for that red eggplant stuff. [Cobble Hill Blog] Crown Heights: The Lubavitchers are building more housing here to accommodate all their babies, but some sources say they're having fewer kids all around, from eight to ten per family to a streamlined, downright Euro-chic six. [Brownstoner]

Hot-Chocolate Frenzy in Flatiron; Know You're Eating Sperm in Midtown

Astoria: Sunswick is having an Abitas beer promotion on Sunday with drink specials, but if you’re less concerned about game day, you could check out the renovation at Il Bambino. [Joey in Astoria] Carroll Gardens: Naturally Delicious caterers, who also did this blogger’s wedding, will deliver a V-Day menu that includes baked oysters, lobster bisque, tenderloin, a cheese plate, and a Valrhona flourless chocolate cake to those who want to stay in but aren’t able to whip up our sexy stash of recipes. [A Brooklyn Life] Flatiron: City Bakery kicks off its monthlong hot-chocolate festival tomorrow, which highlights rotating "additional flavors, from Caramel or Banana Peel to the Chili Pepper or even Beer varieties." [Restaurant Girl] Midtown East: If you show up at Sakae Sushi and find that it’s closed for a couple of days, you can stop into nearby Yakitori East on 44th Street. Just remember: The winter specialty shirako that their menu dubs as "soft cod roe" is "rather beige globules of sperm sacs." [Gothamist] On February 12, eliminate "menstrual and sexual health concerns" through food at D’Or; let’s hope there’s chocolate involved. [Love Your Femme via Gridskipper] Union Square: Mesa Grill impresario Bobby Flay just got back from Greece and would fly there again for all that "delicious Greek olive oil and some lemon and some potatoes and Greek salad," but if he would just stay in New York, maybe Mesa Grill would have been able to hold on to more of its stars. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]

Abrams Brothers Have Always Loved the UWS; Gay Talese Will Eat BBQ on the UES

Chelsea: The owner of the Cuban restaurant that replaced Havana Chelsea says he’s not trying to copy the former tenant: "It took years of grease to get on those walls and the smell of rotten wood and mice and stale water and dirt. We gutted the entire place, not even a tooth pick was worth saving." [Eat for Victory/VV] Clinton Hill: Greene Grape Provisions has opened with fresh fish and meats, and if you bring a receipt to their nearby wine store, the owners will take 5 percent off your purchase of their recommended pairings. [Clinton Hill Blog] Midtown East: Chocolatier Charbonnel Et Walker on the eighth floor of Saks sells a rich chocolate cupcake drenched in sticky toffee, which is well worth its $6 price tag and still "way cheaper than a pair of Chanel pumps" sold nearby. [NewYorkology] Midtown West: Brasserie Cognac is coming to 55th Street and Broadway. [Grub Street] Tribeca: Dekk seems closed indefinitely. [Grub Street] Union Square: In an unsurprising conclusion, Bruni finds that Indian and Italian restaurants are better equipped to satisfy vegetarians. Dévi is one example where even meat eaters may want to eat those vegetable-based dishes. [Diner’s Journal/NYT] Upper East Side: Barbejew Steven Levy hopes his new BBQ joint, Smokin’ Q, which opens this week at 206 East 63rd Street, will succeed where twelve restaurants have failed since 1977. Levy may have an edge against predecessors, however, since writer Gay Talese, who included the doomed space in his memoir, plans to be the writer-in-residence. [NYT] Upper West Side: The Magnolia and Mermaid Inn uptown aren’t the first companies the Abrams brothers have introduced to the nabe; cupcake guru Steve owns "a construction company, high-end residential construction, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous sort of stuff. My clients are Samuel Jackson, Annie Leibovitz, Jeff Gordon." [NYO]

Former Home of the Whopper Now City's First Certified Organic Restaurant

What used to be a Burger King is now Gusto Organics, which claims to carry organic certification from the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York and the USDA. The restaurant’s business practices differ from BK’s in obvious ways: It recycles all of its trash and composts its food, the furniture is handmade, and the cleaning methods are environmentally friendly. But owner Alberto Gonzalez sees the value of the chain and wants a network of shareholders and six to ten franchisees, he says. Things are looking good so far — the place was hopping on Saturday night.