NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Latest on efforts to create new areas in Times Square designated for costumed characters to pose with tourists and ask for tips (all times local):
Three costumed characters who take photos with tourists in New York’s Times Square and ask for tips have been accused of refusing to give tourists change.
Police say people playing Iron Man, the Hulk and Anna from “Frozen” were taken into custody Thursday. The arrests came a day after the city started painting teal rectangles in pedestrian plazas designating where the costumed characters can pose with tourists and solicit tips.
Authorities say a man and a woman from Iowa took photos with the Anna character, who took $10 as a tip. Police say the tourists demanded change and Anna handed back $3 and walked off.
They say the out-of-towners also gave $10 to Iron Man and $10 to the Hulk, who refused to give them change. There’s no set tip amount, but tips are expected.
A police spokesman says charges against the three characters are pending.
New York City workers have started painting teal rectangles in pedestrian plazas designating where costumed characters can pose with tourists in Times Square.
Starting June 21, street performers and costumed characters will be restricted to those areas when soliciting tips from tourists.
Workers started painting the Designated Activity Zones on Wednesday. The zones are a product of a law signed in April meant to curb aggressive panhandling.
Some lawyers and costumed Elmos and Spider-Men have complained the law infringes on the performers’ civil liberties and First Amendment rights.
But the Times Square Alliance and the New York Police Department say the restrictions are legal. They say the costumed characters are engaging in commercial activity.
An educational initiative will begin next week to inform the performers and the public of the new rules.