Some NYC Officials Want to Cut Down on Evil Elmos
Thousands of tourists pass through Manhattan's Times Square daily, and they are welcomed by tall buildings, flashy signs and bright lights. But those visiting the area are also greeted by Cookie Monster and SpongeBob SquarePants, and some New York City officials say these costumed characters aren't always welcoming.
Lawmakers met with the Times Square Alliance Wednesday morning to discuss concerns with these costumed characters in the popular tourist destination.
In June, a man dressed as Spider-Man was arrested for allegedly groping a woman a few days after a different Spider-Man stood trial for allegedly hitting a mom with a snowball after she didn't leave a tip.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said she wants to see more restrictions to weed out some of the bad apples.
"We have to figure out a way so [costumed characters] are not in any way, shape or form having an interaction with tourists that isn't anything but welcoming," said Brewer.
A New York City Councilman has drafted a bill that aims to tighten regulations on costumed characters.
Councilman Andy King said the legislation would create a licensing system to give the city a better idea of who is inside the costumes.
"We are going to be able to track who is underneath the costume and if [costumed characters] violate someone's space, they are going to be held accountable," said King. "If there's five Mickey Mouses out there, we want to know who they are."
King said he plans to introduce the bill to the New York City Council sometime next week.