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The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has told a Manhattan retailer to stop selling housewares with the twin towers skyline, yet the same items are sold in the National September 11 Memorial & Museum gift shop.

"It's just really insane," says Julie Gaines, co-owner of home goods retailer Fishs Eddy, who sells the skyline items to that gift shop wholesale.

On July 24, Fishs Eddy received a cease-and-desist letter from the Port Authority, which owns the property where the memorial and museum sit.

Gaines says she has sold the skyline designs since before Sept. 11, 2001, and is in no way trying to capitalize on the terrorist attacks.

The cease-and-desist letter charges Fishs Eddy with "unfairly reaping a benefit from an association with the Port Authority and the (9/11) attacks," by selling items with references to the twin towers. That letter also says that Fishs Eddy is using "unauthorized reproductions and names" of other Port Authority "assets" such as One World Trade Center, the Lincoln Tunnel and the Holland Tunnel.

The agency asks the retailer to discontinue sales of those items — which include cups, plates, bowls and placemats — and destroy any material with those images.

"This isn't about the NY skyline, this is about Fishs Eddy marketing products making use of the World Trade Center and other PA facilities without the right to do so," the Port Authority said in statement e-mailed to USA TODAY. "We attempt whenever we can to protect the Port Authority and its facilities from improper third-party commercial use."

Michael Frazier, spokesman for the museum and memorial, confirmed that items from Fishs Eddy were available in the museum shop but referred USA TODAY to the Port Authority for any comments on the cease-and-desist letter.

Fishs Eddy plans to continue selling the products, says Gaines.

"We have no intention of changing the pattern at all," says Gaines, who is working with lawyers to defend the design.

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