NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The New York City Council is set to consider legislation this week that would create designated zones for costumed characters and painted topless women in Times Square.
Under the bill, the Department of Transportation would set the zones.
Tim Tompkins, of the Times Square Alliance, believes limiting the groups to certain areas would allow them to continue earning a living while giving visitors the option to avoid them.
“It allows Times Square to be a place that’s quirky, unusual and spontaneous without it being a free for fall,” Tompkins said. “People have a little bit more of a choice about whether they’re approaching them rather than just being approached wherever they are at every corner.”
1010 WINS’ Roger Stern stopped in Times Square to find out what people thought of the proposal.
“In my personal opinion, should they be here? No. But it’s a free country so that’s the whole point. It’s the liberties,” one woman said.
“They make people happy, people take pictures with them. I think the government is supposed to help them, to make them licensed,” one man said.
“I believe they should be able to do their thing wherever they like,” another man said.
Complaints over aggressive costumed characters, panhandling, and displays that are less than family-friendly spurred the city to create a Times Square Task Force, focused on reducing what the de Blasio administration called “nuisance quality of life issues.”
And though the costumed characters and painted topless women were not banned from the pedestrian plaza, the NYPD did deploy 100 additional officers to the area in response to the complaints.
Late last month, a man dressed in a Batman costume was accused of stealing $50 from a tourist.
In June, two women dressed as Minnie Mouse and Hello Kitty were arrested on assault charges after the two allegedly got into a fight over how to split tips they had made.