The costumed characters crowding Times Square everyday are not fans of people trying to reign them in. And even with the last year announcement of New York City’s Designated Activity Zones (DAZs), the city-mandated areas created for desnuda’s to ask for tips, many are annoyed with law enforcement’s lack of enforcing the policy.
Law-enforcement reportedly write off the need to ticket, adding that the officers’ hands were tied since most of the costumed panhandlers are illegal immigrants and under Bill de Blasio’s administration, going after them would be difficult.
Desnudas are painted nude panhandlers that are often colored in star-spangled patterns and walk the streets of Times Square.
The New York Post sent a reporter to go out and interact with the desnudas and other panhandlers and were greeted with insults and wild gestures.
‘I told you, if you don’t have a tip, then f*** off!’ one star-spangled desnuda said to a Post reporter.
During a walk through the pedestrian plaza with The Post, Times Square Alliance President Tim Tompkins said: ‘Watch — the Hulk always goes and touches people.’
The costumed beast was outside the 47th Street and Broadway zone and would berate potential costumers for money by putting his huge arms around them.
‘The Hulk drives me crazy,’ Tompkins said. A block south and over at Seventh Avenue, a trio of Minnie Mice working in cahoots with each other.
When a tourist took a selfie, one Minnie would crash the photo but soon the others would join as well.
‘Suddenly, there’s three Minnies in your picture,’ Tomkins said. ‘And a Batman, and a Spider-Man. And they all want cash. And they’re all outside the zone.
‘It’s a total f****** scam, and it happens thousands of times a week,’ he said, clearly frustrated.
‘It’s those same three f****** Minnie Mouses.’
The Times Square Alliance said that it observed the DAZs between 45th and 47th streets from four to 9pm, several weeks ago.Observing 20 workers, they saw 418 character-initiated encounters and found that 67 per cent of them happened outside a DAZ. Only 43 per cent of the interactions actually amounted in tips while 88 per cent involved characters touching members of the public.
Robert John Burck, the Naked Cowboy, was said to be one of the most law-abiding.
‘You can make it work if ya try!’ he said.
Uncomfortable incidents – one where a Spider-Man wouldn’t let go of a 13-year-old until their father paid $10 and a Batman who snatched $50 out of an Irish tourist’ wallet – prompted the creation of eight DAZs a year ago.
Failure to stay within the guidelines warrants a fine of up to $500. But in the first year only 220 summonses have been issued, which is less than once a day. Tompkins added that part of the problem is the elusiveness of the panhandlers who he said ‘dart back into their DAZs’ when cops approach. But when asked about the issue, NYPD spokesman Peter Donald responded in an e-mail that ‘the enforcement data tells a different story. There have been a number of arrests and hundreds of summons issued to costume characters over the past year in Times Square.’
(via: Daily Mail)