NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The City Council Transportation Committee will vote Wednesday on legislation that will provide allocated zones for the costumed characters that are seen in Times Square.
The legislation would allow the city’s Department of Transportation to create rules and regulations for pedestrian plazas like the ones in Times Square.
Those supporting say the legislation will allow for all the kinds of activities that take place in Times Square now, but in specific zones. So those who want to take a photo with a costumed character or buy a ticket for a sightseeing tour could still do that while those who don’t would be able to get through the area without the threat of being harassed.
Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-10th) came to Times Square on Tuesday to assure the desnudas – painted topless women – and the costumed characters that his legislation to put them into physical zones will not cost them their jobs.
“For those hundreds of Disney character workers, the message is we are here to work together with them, and they will be able to do fine too,” Rodriguez said.
But Elvis impersonator Steven Clark, 43, is blunt about the measure.
“I think it’s stupid,” he said. “Puts me where I’m standing on the same spot every day.”
The bill comes after scores of complaints in recent years over aggressive panhandling behavior, primarily from the costumed characters pushing onlookers for tips.
At the City Council hearing last week, a police official said there have been 16 arrests this year, compared to 15 arrests in all of last year.
In the most recent incident, a man in a Spider-Man costume was accused of fighting with a tourist over a tip this past weekend, and was arrested on an assault charge.
Other incidents included a Spider-Man allegedly punching a police officer, an Elmo being arrested for allegedly harassing people and yelling anti-Semitic slurs and a “Toy Story” Woody allegedly groping women.