You know when you emerge from the subway at Times Square and feel like you’re having a psychotic break because Hello Kitty, SpongeBob, and Spiderman are suddenly swarming you, asking if you want a photo? Well, the Coney Island Boardwalk may soon become a seaside version of this midtown bad acid trip: 42nd Street police have cracked down on these furry panhandlers, and they’re now descending upon the People’s Playground, the Brooklyn Paper reports.
Locals are not pleased. “People are intimidated having them here, begging for tips,” Michael Sarrel, a manager at Coney Island eatery Ruby’s, told the Paper. “Sometimes they get aggressive.” They’re using the same panhandling tactics that got them chased out of Manhattan–demanding money for taking a picture of someone in a public place. Signs informing tourists that this practice is illegal were recently posted around Time Square, prompting the area’s Mickey Mouses and friends to hop on the F train. The Coney Island Alliance is speaking to various agencies to ensure that the Boardwalk remains an escape from Manhattan’s madness, not a knockoff of it.
[via The Brooklyn Paper]
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