NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to Appoint Second Panel on Panhandling

27 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Amid Complaints About Times Square, Police Announce New Unit.

Police have announced a new unit dedicated to patrolling Times Square following weeks of complaints about the panhandling tactics of costumed characters such as Elmo and Batman and topless women covered in body paint. The NYPD is finally cracking down on the aggressive cartoon characters, naked women and other pushy panhandlers plaguing Times Square — by putting back the cops they took away earlier this year.The NYPD announced it was seeking volunteers to serve in Manhattan South’s “newly formed Times Square unit,” according to an internal message obtained Wednesday by The Daily News.The annoying costumed characters who prey on tourists in Times Square are moving into other parts of the city — and taking their aggressive panhandling tactics with them.

The area, one of the busiest and most crowded in the nation, eventually was going to get new officers who would work regular shifts and be assigned to the same posts every day, but the past few weeks of attention accelerated the decision to recruit, the New York Police Department said. The officers “will be expected to address crime and quality-of-life issues related to the city’s number one tourist destination,” the message states. “Times Square is an important piece of real estate in New York City,” said Chief of Department James O’Neill. “We have to pay attention to what goes on there.” Right now 47 cops patrol the area, he said. The department is seeking applications from officers to join the patrol, which will be known as the Times Square Unit, according to a memo sent to all police commands on Tuesday.

A turf war erupted between costumed characters in the Battery Park area, resulting in a fist fight between Minnie Mouse and the Statue of Liberty, 1010 WINS’ John Montone reported. The officers who join the unit will patrol on foot, according to the memo, and will “be expected to build relationships with members of the local business community” and with security personnel “from the numerous hotels, restaurants, theaters and retail locations in the area.” The creation of the unit comes amid a debate over how to handle the growing number of topless women, known as desnudas, who wear body paint and solicit tips.

And the beefed-up patrols won’t be doing much different when dealing with the Elmos, Spidermen and naked women because existing law limits their options unless the beggars break the law. Nobody steals.” “Honestly, yesterday I felt like there were more cops than tourists here,” said the 24-year-old Manhattan woman, who declined to give her last name. “We couldn’t even sit down to eat. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, a co-chair on the task force, has already voiced his support for doing away with the plazas, which he says create a gathering spot that breeds problematic behavior. Mayor Bill de Blasio suggested last week that one solution could involve the removal of the pedestrian plazas where the women, and many people dressed as cartoon characters or superheroes, pose for photos and ask for a tip in return.

When I was in college, I took an intro art class—you know, one of those classes to fulfill a requirement—and there may have been a nude model who came in one week, she may have been named Rhonda, I can’t honestly remember, and she may have had curly auburn hair—but the point is, I did not complain. And that’s wrong.” Mayor de Blasio last week convened a task force after the Daily News sounded the alarm about their jiggly competitors — bare-breasted painted ladies and their male handlers who have also set up shop in the Crossroads of the World. Now the administration is forming a second task force to include “officials and stakeholders from areas with high levels of tourism that are experiencing similar issues” like the Battery and Coney Island, said de Blasio spokeswoman Karen Hinton.

The new officers will be tasked with getting to know the business owners, vendors and workers in the area in line with the neighborhood policing model being implemented in other precincts citywide, O’Neill said. The councilman said the problem is easier to address on Coney Island because the beach is designated as parkland, requiring businesses to obtain vending permits. That has kept the panhandlers out of Father Duffy Square at the north end of Times Square, but it hasn’t kept them from infesting the Battery, which is also a city park, Burke said. “Everyone is empathetic, everyone recognizes the problem, everyone agrees that it’s illegal, everyone agrees that it’s not a positive experience for the visitor,” he said. “But no one is willing to come up with the enforcement.” Treyger said the Coney Island Boardwalk is also parkland and that hasn’t kept the panhandlers out. This way there’s a familiarity with the people coming through Times Square and there will be some training as far as the rules and regulations of the laws that are applicable to everything that goes on in Times Square,” said O’Neill, adding that the increased staffing should “put people at ease.” The cops won’t hit the streets until October. You’ve got terrifying, giant cartoon characters out of some acid trip wandering around, panhandlers by the dozen, swerving bikers, those goddamn hipsters on those goddamn hoverboards—all in this disgusting mélange.

Times Square does not pass the Nana Test, which I like to use for most matters in my life: Would this place, or course of action, or e-mail I’m about to send make my Grandma Wilhelm proud? If not: it’s garbage, as garbage as the take-out chicken parmesan I once served her that she threw in the trash after one bite (“This isn’t homemade, William. And he said legal concerns about his bill, which he said has 21 supporters in the 51-member City Council, were overblown. “I do not think we’re violating any constitutional laws,” he said. “There are all these people saying, ‘Well let’s be free nilly.

The truth is, everyone’s so quick to rail on ole de Blasio—it’s the only thing cooler than e-cigarettes now, apparently—that they’re jumping on my back about this, even though I know, deep down, they all agree with me—deep down, they avoid Times Square like it’s a phone call from an unknown number. She said that while she had heard the topless woman had been there as well, “half naked people on the boardwalk isn’t so rare in the summer.” But Ms. Savino said the issue was serious. “You intimidate people, especially with small children,” she said. “ It’s not just a Times Square problem, it’s a problem everywhere you have tourists.” But I couldn’t help myself last night and I texted him: “just remember: don’t be anyone other than Dante!” And he wrote back: “I would never dream of it.” (I’m telling you, the kid’s a philosopher.) And this morning I reread his text and felt more sure than ever: I’ll be the most unpopular mayor of all time, I’ll drive the Post into a full-on epileptic fit, I don’t care, I’m going to make this wasteland of a city into a place Nana would be proud of.

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