Times Square Characters Should Be Licensed: Mayor

Cookie Monster may soon need a license if he wants to work in Times Square.

Mayor de Blasio said Monday he believes the people wearing character costumes in the Crossroads of the World should be licensed and regulated.

Dozens of people — dressed as kids' favorites like Elmo, Cookie Monster and Batman — stand near 42nd Street and pose for photos with tourists in exchange for money. The characters have come under scrutiny after a number of high-profile arrests and allegations of harrassment in recent months.

De Blasio said the practice has "gone too far."

His comments come after a man dressed as Spider-Man was arrested over the weekend for allegedly punching a police officer who told him to stop harassing tourists. He was being held in lieu of $3,500 bail

A city councilman has proposed a law that would require the costumed characters to be licensed. The alliance has been campaigning for the measure.

The mayor said even those dressed as superheroes have to "play by the rules or you won't be working here any longer."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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