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Clampdown on Times Square draws mixed reviews from locals and tourists

Topless performers share tips after taking photographs with

Topless performers share tips after taking photographs with tourists in Times Square, Manhattan, on August 18, 2015. The city is looking for ways to legally rein in the behavior of topless women, cartoon mascots, beggars and others who are hustling tourists and passersby for cash in Times Square. Photo Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang

Times Square visitors are split in their response to Mayor Bill de Blasio's planned crackdown on the bare and the brazen in the crossroads of the world.

Restricting begging and risqué painted ladies is a terrific idea, according to Sandra Lee, 56, a theater worker who lives in Corona, Queens. Lee was about to take her 13-year-old grandson to Times Square Tuesday, when she thought "it's best I don't bring him in to see" scantily clad women hustling for dollars -- and left him home. "Having children exposed to that is not a good idea," said Lee. And if existing laws didn't allow the mayor to stop the parade of flesh and outstretched hands, he should "change the laws," she said.

"You guys have a lot more problems than worrying about THAT!" countered a surprised Leah Macnellis, 45, a realtor visiting from Atlanta. "Just driving in here (from La Guardia Airport) -- the roads are horrible!" she exclaimed.

Her friend, Tricia Gieseke, 44, a full-time mom from Atlanta, said she was so dazzled by all the bells and whistles and screens in Times Square "I didn't even notice," the provocative women and costumed characters. "If you're spending money on (a crackdown) let's put some food in some babies' mouths," instead, she said.

But Andrew Taylor, 35, a style assistant from Birmingham, England, applauded the mayor taking action. "All that begging in the street doesn't create a good vibe," said Taylor, who has noticed an increase of inappropriate soliciting on successive visits to NYC. In fact, Taylor had a special request for the mayor to restrict "those guys with CDs!" who hand passersby recorded music as if they're bestowing a gift -- and then hit up the recipient for cash. "That sort of thing I don't like: It's very much in your face," said Taylor.


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