Times Square is quickly becoming the costume capital of the world. They seem to be everywhere.
You'd think this would be an upgrade from the giant rat capital of the world or the apathy toward murder victims capital of the world, but sadly it really isn't.
City officials have said they want to crack down, but now the people who wear the costumes also want to take action and organize to protect their jobs.
You read that correctly. Pan-handling, pulling simplistic scams (I took your picture, you owe me $10) and outright threatening visitors who naively blundered into this urban heart of darkness is a legitimate job that must be protected. I guess it has to be considered as such, now that welfare recipients are considered government employees and "more free stuff" was the pivotal issue of our last presidential election.
You know them as Elmo, Cookie Monster and Woody, but the people who wear these costumes decided to take on a new name: Association of Artists United for a Smile New York City.
Now get to know Scuzzie, Heroin Monster and Exposed Genitals Pervert. They're here to make you smile.
"Once you make that ATM withdrawal you'll get your kid back."
Organizer Alex Gomez says the goal is to clean up the characters' image in the wake of growing complaints.
Because nothing cleans up an image faster than a union. Look what it did for the teamsters!
The last few weeks have seen at least 5 times square characters arrested on charges including aggressive solicitation and disorderly conduct. Among them was a Spider-Man caught on tape allegedly punching a police officer.
My "punch law enforcement" sense is tingling like crazy. Wait, my mistake. That was just the methadone starting to wear off.
The incidents led the NYPD to circulate a flier telling tourists tipping is optional.
"Yo, you ain't gots to obey some mook just cuz he's dressed like a kitty cat or some shit."
A bill is in the works that would require the characters to undergo background checks and wear photo id.
Red tape, identification cards and extra taxes fix everything. Except for vote fraud, where it would be wrong.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has expressed support. But some of the characters say they just want to be left alone to please tourists and collect their tips.
"Just leave us alone! We should be allowed to peacefully prey on the weak and gullible, just like any good New Yorker."
"Cross this line and I'll break your knees, scab."
Your enabling bad behavior!!!!!
I'm assuming the first thing their new union will do is negotiate a settlement for the countless trademark infringements. (sarcasm)
Why not vagrants, drug users and perverts, ...it is NYC with a great mayor all you New Yorkers voted for.
The Union of the Stupid.
I don't get how they can unionize when what they're doing is basically theft.