NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police on Wednesday arrested a man who manages the topless, painted women found in Times Square.
Sources told CBS2 Chris Olivieri was picked up on an outstanding drug warrant.
Cuomo said the women posing for the photos are breaking the law and undermining efforts to keep the tourist area family friendly.
Cuomo told NY1 on Wednesday that the situation is beginning to remind him of the seedy days of the “bad old Times Square.”
The women pose for photos with tourists in exchange for cash and often wear only body paint and a thong. They call themselves “desnudas,” which is Spanish for “naked.”
“I believe this activity is illegal,” Cuomo said. “I believe it is infringing on legitimate businesses. I believe it is infringing on the investment that the state and the city made in the 42nd Street area and I believe it has to be stopped.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday the city will take action against the nearly naked models.
“It’s wrong, it’s wrong. It’s just — look I, as a progressive who believes in civil liberties and believes in our First Amendment, I understand the legal challenge here. But I don’t think that’s the end of the discussion,” de Blasio said. “This situation is going to change. This is what I’ll guarantee you, I’m not going to tolerate it. I’m not satisfied that we have used every tool in our arsenal yet.”
The mayor said the city is looking at several options, much to the relief of the Times Square Alliance. The proposals include “parkland” status for Times Square, which would allow a ban, licenses and ID’s for all street performers, including costumed characters, and new zones, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported.
Street entertainer Paola Pena maintains no one is doing anything wrong. What she does for money — taking off her top, getting painted and posing for photos and tips — is legal in New York.
But though toplessness is not illegal in New York, aggressive panhandling and aggressive solicitation are illegal.
Also Wednesday, two uniformed NYPD officers were reassigned after being spotted taking selfies with the topless models.