Workers mark new zones for costumed characters in Times Square

Darla Miles Image
Thursday, June 9, 2016
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Darla Miles is live in Times Square with the latest details.

TIMES SQUARE, Manhattan (WABC) -- Workers in Times Square have begun laying down new boundaries for pedestrians and street performers.

"I'm from here for 20 years, I've never been arrested in 20 years," said Bonny Arias, a Times Square character.

But some characters don't want the change and clearly don't want to talk about it.

Those who take pics for tips will no longer have free reign over Times Square.

The designated activity zones in Times Square are not just for costumed characters, but for those selling show or bus tickets, naked cowboys and all.

There will be eight different areas from West 47th Street down to West 42nd, all regulated by the Department of Transportation and enforced by the NYPD. They will go into effect later this month.

The penalties start off with fines and may ultimately lead to an arrest.

"So you've been out here for 20 years, and now they are going to put you in a zone and that doesn't bother you at all?" Eyewitness News asked.

"We're being recognized so that's good," Arias and another fellow character said.

Green means "Chill Zone". Wednesday night, NYC DOT crews started laying down the paint for the new color coded system that will regulate where characters can interact with tourists.

A map lays it all out. Designated activity zones in blue are for the characters.

"If you are in the square you are a real artist, a real performer," Arias said.

The legislation is a year in the making, and comes just weeks after a 24-year-old woman was socked in the face after turning down a free hug from repeat aggressive panhandler offender.

"It think it's awesome, I pick up my son every night at 'Finding Neverland' and it's chaos, so I would really appreciate that as a New Yorker. So if people want to check them out they can go over there and everyone else can go the other way," said Christina Richards, an Upper West Side resident.

"Have you ever been arrested for aggressive panhandling?" Eyewitness News asked.

"I just got my lawyer and defeated that, the guy you know," said Victor Vega, a Times Square character.

Yet Vega is back on his grind. But for those who don't consider this an art like he does, they will now have a buffer.

"They kind of shake hands and try to get their attention and I don't like people touching my kid," Richards said.

The work will continue through the week.