NEW YORK — “I don’t like the situation in Times Square, and we’re going to address it in an aggressive manner,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters Tuesday when asked about the topless women covered in body paint prancing around the Square.
“I think it’s wrong. It’s wrong. It’s just – look, as a progressive who believes in civil liberties and believes in our first amendment, I understand the legal challenge here. But I don’t think that’s the end of the discussion. We are going to look for every appropriate way to regulate all activity that involves either begging, or asking people for a contribution based on, you know, the opportunity to take a picture, for example,” the Mayor said. “We’re going to enforce the law to the fullest, with any and all agencies. I’m not satisfied that we have used every tool in are arsenal yet.”
De Blasio, who is fighting a perception problem that the city is going back to the bad old days, is demanding the city agencies crack down on the panhandling menaces in Times Square.
The mayor’s spokeswoman Karen Hinton said it’s a “quality of life problem” and that city agencies are looking for ways to handle it. The topless Time Square Women call themselves “desnudas,” Spanish for “naked” and pose with individuals in exchange for money.
The number of these women has grown exponentially, but it is not illegal for a woman to walk around the city topless. A 1010 News reporter saw some NYPD cop posing with one of the women, CBS news notes.
The city council, along with the mayor’s office and the Times Square Alliance, claim to be hammering out plans to eradicate not just the topless women in Times Square but also the aggressive costumed panhandlers also wandering about the area.