A month or so ago, I did a “Travel Minute” about folks who dress as cartoon and action figure characters and hang around Manhattan’s Times Square hoping to pick up a few bucks posing for photos with tourists’ children. It was becoming a problem, and it appears with the recent arrest of Spiderman, things are going to change.
Some of those folks in costumes have gotten quite pushy. Or they try to charge foreigners ridiculous sums. Super Mario was accused a while back of groping a woman, and an Elmo figure pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct charge after delivering an anti-Semitic tirade.
But most recently, it was Spiderman’s turn in the barrel. He was arrested for allegedly punching a policeman who confronted him about charging tourists $10 for each photograph with him. And when his buddy, Naked Black Cowboy, turned up at the police station to check on him, he was frisked and arrested for possession of cocaine.
A police officer called these not-so-lovable characters “little terrorists preying on tourists,” and I agree it’s gotten out of hand. Sesame Workshop is considering suing panhandlers dressed up as Sesame Street creations without permission, and the City Council may require licensing.
Good idea, I think.