- The Washington Times - Monday, October 3, 2005

NEW YORK (AP) — It’s a fact of life in New York City — street-cleaning rules that force you to move your car to the other side of the road on certain days of the week to make way for sweepers.

Except, of course, for those special days when the street-cleaning rules are suspended to mark state, national, cultural or religious holidays. There are about 40 such holidays, and in this diverse city, they run the gamut: Columbus Day. Purim. Christmas. Asian Lunar New Year. The Immaculate Conception.

Now the city is about to include another — Diwali, which marks the start of the new year for many Hindus. The City Council voted 45-0 last week to put Diwali on the list of recognized holidays.

Advocates say the addition of Diwali to the parking calendar is a milestone for the Indian community in New York. According to 2004 estimates from the Census Bureau, there are more than 213,000 Indians in the city, compared with fewer than 100,000 in 1990.

“It is a direct reflection of the strength and the important contributions of the Indian-American community here in New York City,” said council member John Liu.

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