IN his continuing search for the more weird and wondrous in this world, David Ellis says the countless movie-costumed characters, topless “desnudas” and street performers who for years have made walking New York’s Times Square something of an obstacle course for its 39m annual visitors, have finally been corralled.
Because they can now only solicit for tips when performing or posing for photographs from within defined “Activity Zones.”
The City Council created the Zones after escalating complaints of overly-aggressive touting by not only many of the costumed performers, but by the busty, body-painted, hug-you-for-a-price “desnudas” who wear little more than a G-string, in this city where there are no laws against going topless.
Daily complaints have ranged from Batman grabbing $50 from the wallet of an Irish tourist and running off with it, to Elmo hurling anti-Semetic slurs at a Jewish visitor who wouldn’t come up with the coin, and the Cookie Monster groping a teen.
Spider-Man also found himself in trouble for punching a child who wouldn’t pay him $10 for a photo, and then assaulting a police officer who intervened, while Chewbacca was cautioned for “overt verbal aggression” over a tip.
Now everyone’s watching to see if the formal “Activity Zones” will sterilise the once-colour of Times Square, and reduce tourists’ interest in going there to be photographed with its cartoon and movie characters, and hugged by its topless “desnudas.”
NO longer can New York Times Square’s costumed characters and topless
“desnudas” ply their trade wherever they like, being confined now to designated
“Activity Zones” that many fear will constrain their creativity. (Crains NY Business