Times Square performers to be restricted to designated areas

NEW YORK, N.Y. – 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.