Oh, the joys of having a billionaire mayor! Mayor Bloomberg realizes that one way to people's heart is through tax-free shopping and discounts, so he's hoping that a city- and NYC Visit-sponsored promotion of discounts will encourage people to protest peacefully. Yes, that's right - the city hopes that by offering various discounts to plays, museums, and products, protestors will be more apt to be docile. Clearly, the City has done the due diligence to realize that protesters will bend to the temptation of 15% at the 79th Street Boat Basin, especially the protesters who are looking for free lodging. Speaking at the press conference, alongside former Mayors Koch, and Dinkins, Mayor Bloomberg mentioned that protesting was a "lawful right," (though he had been implying protest was a privilege) while Michael O'Neal, owner of the Boat Basin and O'Neals, said, "Whether you come to protest or just to be seen as a statement, please bring your credit cards as well as your placards."

The NY Times' Jennifer Steinhauer writes about this ploy in an article dripping with yummy yummy sarcasm:

Law-abiding protesters will be given buttons that bear a fetching rendition of the Statue of Liberty holding a sign that reads, "peaceful political activists." Protesters can present the buttons at places like the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Sex, the Pokémon Center store and such restaurants as Miss Mamie's Spoonbread Too and Applebee's to save some cash during their stay.

If only the Romanovs had thought of this.

The press release from the City and the NYC Visit site for
New York City Welcomes Peaceful Political Activists
. Gothamist suspects political activists would be happy and more apt to be peaceful if they got some space closer to Penn Station or at the Great Lawn.