Times Square activity zones for costumed character, street performers widen after first week

The designated areas in Times Square for costumed characters will widen to 50-feet-by-10-feet.
The designated areas in Times Square for costumed characters will widen to 50-feet-by-10-feet. Photo Credit: Getty Images/Getty Images

The city is adjusting its new “Designated Activity Zones” in Times Square after the first week of police enforcement.

The eight teal-painted zones, which corralled costumed characters, desnudas, and other solicitors in the plaza, are being widened by an extra two feet, to 50-feet-by-10-feet, to give the street performers more room, according to the Times Square Alliance.

“The Times Square Alliance remains very pleased with the first few weeks of enforcement, and we appreciate this proactive response to feedback by the NYPD and Department of Transportation,” said the Alliance in an emailed statement. “We have always wanted these rules to be a system that works for everyone, including New Yorkers who commute to work in Times Square each day, as well as the people trying to make a living on the plazas.”

After community feedback, the Department of Transportation began repainting the areas Wednesday and will finish with the adjustments Thursday. More changes could come if the agency sees fit.

“We continue to monitor the zones and will make adjustments as needed,” said DOT spokesman Scott Gastel in an email.

Designated Activity Zones are one of three new pedestrian areas that DOT applied to the plaza this summer to address quality of life concerns relating to aggressive panhandling. There are also “Pedestrian Flow Zones,” meant for those walking through the plaza, and leisure zones where visitors can laze about.

Police said there have been no arrests or summonses issued to costumed characters or desnudas in Times Square since the new rules went into effect June 21.

The pedestrian adjustments came after tabloids campaigned against desnudas, the painted, topless women who pose for photos in Times Square, last summer. Mayor Bill de Blasio responded to the coverage by calling the women “inappropriate” and began working with city legislators on a way to reform the plaza.