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nytimes_barack.JPG The newstands were bare yesterday — if you were looking for a copy of The New York Times, that is. One of the maintenance guys in our building (which is in Union Square) told us at about 9:30 a.m. that he’d been to six different newstands in the area, and the Times was nowhere to be found.

I confirmed that myself a little while later on the way to Washington Square. The only copy I saw anywhere was in a vending box in a student residence hall — and I was a quarter short, having off-loaded almost all my change the night before. (By the way, those newspaper vending machines seem to have become very scarce in my neck of the woods. Is that true all over the city?)

The New York Post must have done well yesterday. They seemed to have printed extra copies, and many would-be Times readers (I wasn’t the only one searching) were settling for the Post. (I bought two myself.)

Luckily, our copy of the Times had been delivered in the morning, but I wanted two more pristine copies for posterity — to give to my sons when they turn 21, perhaps. A friend of ours who works for the times told us that employees were lining up at the delivery trucks to buy copies, and he wasn’t sure that he’d be able to get one. (He finally managed at the end of the day, apparently, when one truck happened to return with copies.) The Times apparently printed 35% more copies than usual, but there was still a nation-wide shortage. There’s an article about the shortage in today’s Times.

If you didn’t get a copy (or if you live outside of NYC and realize now that you want a copy), the Times online store is offering copies (limited supply!) at an unreasonable mark-up of 1000% (14.95). It does, however, come with a “n a resealable plastic envelope.”Go to http://www.nytstore.com.