NYC passes bill to regulate costumed characters

NEW YORK (AP) -- New York City lawmakers have passed a bill that regulates how costumed characters, including Spider-Man and Elmo, operate in pedestrian plazas like the ones in Times Square.

The City Council passed the legislation Thursday by a vote of 41-1, with five abstentions. The bill will allow the Department of Transportation to create regulations and specific zones for plazas.

The bill comes after scores of complaints in recent years over aggressive panhandling behavior, primarily from the costumed characters pushing onlookers for tips.

Supporters of the bill say it allows for all types of activity that currently take place, but in specific zones.

Costumed performers and unions for some bus tour ticket sellers have said forcing them to remain only in one place would cause them to lose money.

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