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Elected leaders commit to regulating Times Square's costumed characters

Bill de Blasio told reporters on Monday that the costumed characters who flock to Times Square and trade photos with tourist for tips have gone "too far."

times square spider man costume A tourist poses with a group of people dressed as cartoon figures July 28, 2014 in New York's Times Square.
Credit: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

Bill de Blasio is not amused.

The mayor told reporters on Monday that the costumed characters who flock to Times Square and trade photos with tourist for tips have gone "too far."

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"I don’t know whether to call it an industry or what you call it, but it needs to be regulated," de Blasio said at an unrelated press conference in City Hall, adding that he would look to City Council to act on proposed legislation.

Referred to as Police Commissioner Bill Bratton as an "Elmo craze," the mayor said it was inappropriate for anybody to harass and demand money from tourists and committed to enforce any situations where the masked menaces act out.

"But I think once we have regulation, we’ll be able to say very clearly to everyone who does that work, ‘Play by the rules or you won’t be working here anymore,'" he added.

Over the weekend, NYPD reportedly arrested six costumed characters at Times Square, including a rogue Spider-Man identified as 25-year-old Junior Bishop.

City Councilman Andy King of the Bronx, who vowed to introduced a bill to regulate the characters and require identification by August, said it was only a few bad apples who are forcing the city to intervene.

“This weekend’s arrests of five individuals dressed as costumed characters," King said in a statement, "unfortunately highlighted the bad behavior of a few bad actors who further reinforce the need to regulate the ubiquitous street performers in Times Square."

Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter@chestersoria

 
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