The Daily News is on Day 2 of its Why Topless, Painted Performers Are Ruining Times Square coverage—and this time, there's an editorial. Because, as we know, Times Square is now a playground for families, and not NYC's usual weirdos.
Yesterday, the tabloid argued, "An out-of-control influx of near-naked women jockeying for tips has turned Times Square into the XXX-Roads of the World — shocking children and incensing legions of tourists and New Yorkers alike." Today, the News reports that the performers have it rough:
“It doesn’t matter if you have your period, or if you are feeling terrible, or if your mom dies. You are a character here, so the people are seeing your face and you have to smile,” said Hannah Nicole Rubiano, 25, from Colombia.
“We work really hard. . . . We have to send energy to the people, to smile all day.”
She said that the scantily clad painted ladies don’t have time for lunch during the relentless competition for tips. Even figuring out a place to stash a purse isn’t easy.
“It’s complicated. It’s not too easy,” said Rubiano, who made a point to say she worked for herself after hearing about the job from friends
Another woman's butt was grabbed by a passing man while she was posing for a photo with group.
It is legal for women to be topless in NYC, but some local politicians are trying to find a way to banish the so-called "desnudas." Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer told the News, "The whole situation is a disaster I think for tourists and New Yorkers and the family friendly image.... It’s just mind blowing... I really don’t believe in it.... I wish it was illegal, but it’s not." And mayoral spokeswoman Karen Hinton said, "A number of city agencies are working now to develop new approaches to this and other quality of life problems in and around Times Square. The mayor finds the Times Square situation unacceptable and expects to recommend administrative actions and other steps soon to address the issues."
Times Square's "performers gone wild" stories have nearly become a cliche, with battling Spider-Man, brawling Spider-Man and Batman, cop-attacking Spider-man, butt-groping Woody, boob-groping Cookie Monster and many others. The Times Square Alliance has been trying to establish a balance between "quirky" (which is okay) and "creepy" (not okay), to keep the area's big businesses happy.
Police Commissioner Bratton had previously said, "We have researched that top to bottom. We cannot find any law that allows us to interfere with that freedom of expression reflective through art form." A News editorial points out that if Times Square's pedestrian plaza were designated parkland, then the performers wouldn't be able to solicit tips.
It's worth noting that despite the anti-desnuda backlash, there are in fact some people who simply don't care. One mother told WCBS 2 the naked ladies were totally fine: "If you have it, paint it."