Run out of Times Square, costumed characters take up residence on Coney Island

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Renee Stoll has the story. (WABC)

Costumed characters driven out of Times Square by a police crackdown have staked claim on a new home, and some residents are upset about the furry arrivals.

Many took to social media to complain about the characters, who have taken up residence on the Coney Island boardwalk.

"I don't mind seeing them on the boardwalk as long as they don't get pushy," Queens resident Tom Ruehle said.

And that's the problem. The costumed characters have a reputation for harassing tourists for tips after posing for pictures, and there have even been instances of gropings.

Children may be eager to take pictures with the knockoff Olaf and Minnie Mouse, but not everyone likes their sometimes aggressive presence on the boardwalk.

"Give us, give us...especially Spider-Man," tourist Anna Hallin said. "Spider-Man was more aggressive than the other two."

A group of tourists from Sweden were soon dishing out dollars to everyone who had a hand out.

"They wanted money, and we gave them one, and they were like, 'oh, me too, me too, me too,'" tourist Hanna Anderson said. "They just took their masks off and dived into the money."

The reason for the characters' relocation may be because they haven't been very welcomed in Times Square after complaints and even some arrests.

In November, a bill was proposed to make the folks who wear the costumes be licensed, but it was last seen in the New York City's Council Committee for Consumer Affairs and hasn't been voted on since.

With its rides and games, some locals think the boardwalk is a better place for the characters than Times Square.

"Especially since the aquarium is right there," Brooklyn resident Christina Panzariello said. "All the kids are here."

None of them were willing to talk to Eyewitness News.

The Alliance for Coney Island is looking into the matter and talking to various agencies, saying it strives to keep Coney Island a pleasurable spot for people to visit.

With the tips coming in and no laws to stop them, it looks like the characters may be there to stay.
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societycostumed charactersconey islandboardwalkNew York CityConey Island
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