New Rules for Elmo and Friends

The New York City Council approved a bill on Thursday that would regulate, not ban, costumed characters from soliciting in Times Square and other pedestrian plazas around the city.

With Spiderman and The Penguin in attendance, THE Council granted the Department of Transportation authority to develop designated areas around the city, in a vote of 42 to one, with five members abstaining. The legislation was in response to several complaints by tourists of assault and aggressive panhandling by the characters.

“People should be able to walk through Times Square without being harassed,” said Councilman Corey Johnson. “We need to recognize licenses and registrations.”