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Time Square, home of the menacing costumed characters

A costumed character removed his Elmo head to count his loot.
A costumed character removed his Elmo head to count his loot.
Photo by: Julio Ibarra

New York ( – Manhattan Councilman Dan Garodnick is planning to put the snafu on Time Square’s costumed characters that are dressed as TV and comic book heroes. He is proposing a bill that will enforce the costumed critters to be licensed by the city. There are hundreds of the characters roaming the city’s streets during the summer. Having the bill in place will also scurry-off those would be troublemakers that are preying upon New York’s multi billion-dollar tourist industry, as they hide in a friendly, alluring suit. Tourists are shocked when they are harassed to pay-up $20 bills, just for taking a picture with the popular TV or comic book charter the person in the suit is imitating.

According to CBS New York report that quoted Time Square Alliance President Tim Tompkins in saying, “Our feeling is that there’s honest folks out there trying to make a living, but there’s also folks that are trying to take advantage of people.”

The city has dealt with numerous of complaints from tourists and city residents alike, and the complaints are growing by the day. Starting with last month’s incident as the attack of the breast grabbing Spider Man, the 22-year-old in the suit was arrested and convicted of a misdemeanor. Not too long after that, a man dressed in a Spider Man costume was apprehended after he was seen having an altercation with a woman, and he was convicted.

In Feb. 2013 a 36-year-old man punched a mother in the face in front of her two children, after she refused to tip him when he posed with her children. The attorney of the 36-year-old defendant accused the mother of two children of instigating the fight when she tossed a block of ice at the defendant, after he made a derogatory remark towards her.

In January a man that was dressed as the movie character Woody from “Toy Story” was charged with forcible touching. In 2013 there was an incident involving a Cookie Monster impersonator that was arrested for allegedly shoving a 2-year-old child to the side. Following another costume character attack, a man in an Elmo suit shouting anti-Semitic gibberish was also arrested.

As this misbehavior expands the city falls into legal issues. CBS New York reported Garodnick saying, “We’re going to try to deal with the line of protecting First Amendment rights and commercial speech and also protect against what has become garden variety harassment out there.”

The city’s attempts of eradicating the matter can put it in a legal standoff with these costumed characters that are attempting to make a living. The cost of renting a costume from a local costume shop can add up to quite few dollars for some of the entertainers. Some characters were caught mentioning that they do not make much more than $50 a day.

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