Shops, residents of NYC’s Soho up in arms over street gambling

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On Saturday afternoon, Soho shoppers began their Christmas sprees ducking in and out of Louis Vuitton, Yves St. Laurent and Loewe. But a more sinister group was eager to entice them to spend their money.

Set up between Greene Street’s Patagonia and the luxe streetwear store Amiri and across from Alexander McQueen, a man dressed in tight white jeans and a shirt with the Dior logo proffered a felt-topped rectangular surface in one hand. With the other, he quickly shuffled around three plastic bottle caps. Underneath one was a pebble-sized plastic ball — an efficient, micro spin on the age-old shell game.

And well-heeled retailers and loft dwellers on the famous cobblestoned street are up in arms over it — saying the well-organized illegal game, complete with shills and lookouts, has brought a sometimes violent seediness to this cobblestoned street.

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