Here’s the stark naked truth: Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to find a way to get topless entertainers out of Times Square.
But the nude-unfriendly Democrat conceded that the First Amendment may stand in the way of forcing the X-rated entertainers to cover up.
“Our current laws do make it harder to enforce in the way we might like to. There is a First Amendment protection for begging,” Mr. de Blasio said at an unrelated press conference at City Hall today. “There is a First Amendment protection for painting yourself and displaying yourself in a certain fashion. It makes no sense, but I understand that is a First Amendment protection.”
Mr. de Blasio said he wouldn’t “tolerate” the thong-wearing women, who spray paint their bare bodies and jockey for tips at the Crossroads of the World. The Daily News claims that the raunchy display is upsetting tourists and anyone toting kids around Times Square. Several pols, including Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, have complained already.
Mr. de Blasio promised to find “legislative and regulatory solutions” to the nudity, even though it’s not a crime for women to go topless in New York City. He said he’d be working with the City Council and city agencies to find a legal remedy.
“If there’s a business transaction going on—let’s face it, the women in Times Square, or the furry creatures in Times Square are engaged in a business. We believe that opens the door for us to enforce the way we would with any other business. And we will do so while still respecting Constitutional rights,” he said, promising some changes “quite soon.”
“This situation is going to change, this is what I’ll guarantee you,” Mr. de Blasio continued. “I’m not going to tolerate it, we’re going to change things. I think we have just begun to recognize all the tools available here. But, you know, this is a situation that I don’t accept, and we will deal with very aggressively.”
Will Bredderman contributed reporting.