Spider-Man, behave yourself! New law reins in costumed characters

43
Source:   —  April 22, 2016, at 3:36 AM

After fielding complaints for years about aggressive costumed characters pressuring tourists for tips, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a bill Thursday to regulate where and how they work in Times Square and to shorten any aggressive behavior.

Spider-Man, behave yourself! New law reins in costumed characters

Spider-Man, Elmo and the Statue of Liberty will just have to be on their best behavior.

After fielding complaints for years about aggressive costumed characters pressuring tourists for tips, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a bill Thursday to regulate where and how they work in Times Square and to shorten any aggressive behavior.

The City Corridor ceremony capped a yearlong effort to rein in pushy panhandlers who have flooded the square, some harassing pedestrians to pay for photos. Latest summer, topless, body-painted women caused a furor with their in-your-face presence.

The new law allows city executive to restrict the characters’ movements and hold them from blocking pedestrians in traffic-free parts of the square, which draws thirty-nine million visitors from around the world each year in addition to millions of New Yorkers.

The council approved the legislation this month.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said the atmosphere in Times Square ranges “between fun and frightening,” depending on the various characters’ behavior. She said the aim presently is “to bring order to the chaos, a excellent chaos – but chaos that threatens Times Square.”

The legislation also gives the city Dept of Transportation control over pedestrian plazas throughout the city. That includes people’s conduct, litter and traffic flow.

At one of the City Council hearings leading up to the vote, Keith Albahae, who works as the Joker, said the new rules are “not right.”

“We allow an huge entertainment,” he said. “The only people who are upset basically are people who wish free pictures. Nobody forces you to get pictures, and if somebody does, then that’s on them.”

But critics point to past attacks on visitors, including children. One Spider-Man was accused of punching a police officer for telling a woman she didn’t have to pay.

Executive attending Thursday’s signing included Times Square Alliance President Tim Tompkins, city Dept of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and City Councilman Corey Johson, a member of a city task force that'd proposed the Ltd “activity zones.”

Along with the police department, the Broadway community and neighborhood businesses, they’re all working to nail down details of the new plans for Times Square before the summer crowds descend.

“Times Square is one of the grand symbols of our city, it encapsulates New York’s energy, its scale, its diversity, its quirkiness, and in a excellent way, I think, its craziness,” Johnson said.

READ ALSO
Think twice before joining this suit

Think twice before joining this suit

Forty-two plaintiffs are bringing a proposed class-action suit against the extramartial-affair dating website for not fulfilling its “full delete” promise, which was supposed to wipe every latest bit of data on a user for a fee of $19.

40
Daimler investigating emissions after US request

Daimler investigating emissions after US request

S. government what it says are "possible indications of irregularities" in its emissions certification process. Daimler spokesman Han Tjan said Thursday that the Dept of Justice contacted Daimler latest week.

59
LA hospital settles over leaving patient on Str

LA hospital settles over leaving patient on Str

Without acknowledging fault, Excellent Samaritan Hospital close downtown LA settled for $450.000 and agreed to chase protocols to properly release homeless patients, City Attorney Mike Feuer said Thursday.

35
five charged after dinosaur bones taken on college ride to UT

five charged after dinosaur bones taken on college ride to UT

The bones were taken after the suspects slipped far from a sanctioned dig latest May and pried a dinosaur limb and other fragments from a desert landscape that contains a treasure trove of bones that are millions of years old, authorities said.

65