A number of Harlem shops are now telling customers "No hoodies" are allowed. And that even means babies in hoodies!
According to DNAinfo, three businesses on Frederick Douglass Boulevard, between 126th and 129th Streets, have signs that say "DO NOT ENTER WITH HOODIE OR MASK" and "IF SO YOU ARE NOW TRESPASSING." One business claimed they are letting in customers with hoodies, as long as they wear them down, but one young mother, wearing a hooded sweatshirt, said she and her baby—also wearing a hoodie—were asked to leave.
Princess Johnson, while carrying her baby clad in a pink jumper with hood, told WCBS 2, "I can’t get her milk because they said we’re trespassing. I feel offended," adding, "The signs are everywhere. They should take them down because it’s violating everybody and we can’t go into a store because of a hoodie? That’s crazy."
Participating stores say that they turned to the signs to make customers feel more comfortable—and also because when they've been robbed, hoodies prevent clerks from getting a good look at suspects for police description.
The signs were created by Joe Stark, a Philadelphia businessman. He told DNAinfo, "We’re trying to put robbers and shoplifters on notice. When you get a guy walking into a store and he has a hood up, a mask up, it can be a scary thing." He insists the signs aren't targeting races, because criminals can be "can be black, white, brown, yellow, blue or green... The only complaint you might have is from the little thugs selling drugs in the corner."
One store owner tore the sign down, explaining to WABC 7 he only had it up because he thought it was a new law.