Times Squares' costumed entrepreneurs are officially free to ply their trade without fear of retribution. According to the Daily News, the NYPD has stopped the policy of ticketing the Elmos, Hello Kitties, Buzz Lightyears and Spidermen who take pictures with kiddies for tips. The entertainers are allowed to receive tips, but not charge for pictures taken with them in costume. According Girish Dani, who dresses up as Spiderman, Elmo still gets a bad rap: "A few Elmos chase people for tips…I heard one or two Elmos drink whiskey, and this could be an issue." Ah, but Sesame Street is the type of place that drives a monster to drink.
Dani says he can make anywhere from $20 to $100 in an eight hour shift, but competition to nab the most photos from wee ones is stiff: "The costumed crowd on Friday included four Elmos, three Mickey Mice, two Puss In Boots and a Grinch." Gah! Shouldn't that tear a hole in the time-space continuum?
36-year-old Single mom Andrea Gutierrez dresses up as Minnie Mouse to support her family, and "because I love working with children. It can be a tough way to make a living." Though they may be free from $60 citations in the future, the corporations that own the likenesses of the characters may still have a case. Then again, what was that line in that Sinatra song? You've got to be a part of it / That sweating-your-ass-off-in-a-suit in Midtown, part of it.