Mayor Forms Task Force To Combat..Topless Gals And Cartoon Characters, Not Guns and Gangs

Times Square Desnudas

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday that he will convene a multi-agency City task force to address the growing problem of topless individuals and costume characters in Times Square. Over the past several months, serious concerns have been raised about both the appropriateness of topless individuals in Times Square, as well as aggressive solicitation by topless gals and costumed characters that oftentimes becomes harassment of New Yorkers and visitors alike.

The mayor remarked “that experience [of tourists] has been diminished by the proliferation of topless individuals and costumed characters who too often harass people and expose families to inappropriate acts.” No mention, however, was made of the diminished quality of life enjoyed by children and families in Brooklyn and Bronx neighborhoods where shootings and murders are up over last summer.

Robert E. Wankel, President and co-CEO of The Shubert Organization, summed up the concerns of the mayor, editorial boards and downtown elites, “The success of Broadway has long been linked to the City’s ability to maintain a clean, vibrant, low-crime, exciting Times Square for New Yorkers, suburban theatregoers, and visitors from around the world.”


Times Square Desnudas-1On Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio expressed his sensitivity to the civil rights of painted topless gals and costumed characters when he stated that “as a progressive who believes in civil liberties and believes in our first amendment, I understand the legal challenge here.”

Some New Yorkers would prefer that de Blasio place emphasis on preserving the life and civil liberties of taxpayers in the outer boroughs by going after illegal guns and gangs instead of devoting resources and manpower to Times Square. On Facebook, Brooklyn-based crime victim’s rights activist Tony Herbert huffed, “I guess dealing with naked women requires more of [de Blasio’s] attention, moreso (sic) than guns going off in our communities and innocent lives being lost!!”


Times Square Costumed CharactersLast summer, Bronx Councilman King has proposed legislation to require street performers to be licensed and receive background checks, particularly the cast of characters that frequent Times Square dressed as characters from children’s television, literature and cinema.


“I am particularly concerned adults are dressing up in kids’ character costumes and pretty much harassing or even begging for money to take a picture,” King told the WSJ in back July 2014.


The task force will be co-chaired by Police Commissioner William Bratton and City Planning Commissioner Carl Weisbrod, and will include representatives from the New York City Police Department, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the Department of Transportation, the Law Department, the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Department of City Planning, Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, NYC & Company, and Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen. The Task Force will also include external stakeholders from the Times Square community and local elected officials. The group will study the legal and oversight issues associated with regulating topless individuals and costumed characters, and report back findings by October 1 of this year.  Final membership of the task force will be announced soon.

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