NEW YORK CITY—Hey, everyone: Remember when The Large Big Apple used to be a fun place? Yeah, Greenwich Village, but we're thinking mainly of Times Square, where there used to be multiple porno theaters on every block—one ran Deep Throat continuously for nearly 20 years—and between them, sex shoppes featuring all the XXX videotapes, dildos and Candy Panties you could eat.
Of course, that was before Rudy "America's Mayor" Giuliani showed up and pushed a couple of "Clean Up Times Square" ordinances through the City Council, closing all the porno theaters and driving away nearly all the sex shoppes except the ones willing to hide the Good Stuff in a back room, and stock the front window with small replicas of the Statue of Liberty with a thermometer up her ass, "I Love New York" bumper stickers and pennants, and videos featuring the Lone Ranger—all in an attempt to attract "family friendly" businesses like the Walt Disney Company, the M&M Museum, Madam Tussaud's Wax Museum, some mainstream movie theater chains, a few upscale restaurants and shops, and Barclay's Bank.
But even without the sex-related businesses, Times Square continues to be a major tourist attraction, and like similar famous areas of any major city, it has its share of panhandlers and street artists—including a group which has become known as "desnudas": Women nude from at least the waist up, with their tits (and possibly pussy) covered in body paint, apparently so as not to offend Ma and Pa Sessions from Selma.
As most know, it's completely legal to walk around topless in The City; just ask Scout Willis (Bruce's daughter), Bonnie Rotten or Holly Van Voast. But then again, this is Times Square we're talking about, and city officials tend to get a little pissy when a bunch of desnudas are on the stroll—so "liberal" Democratic-Socialist Mayor Bill de Blasio pushed a bill, which passed by "a resounding 42-1," through the City Council in April of 2016 creating eight taped-off "commercial areas," called Designated Activity Zones (DAZs), roughly 10 by 15 feet each, where all the desnudas, Minnie Mice, Spider-Men, Incredible Hulks and dozens of other costumed characters—even a Donald Trump or two—were supposed to stay, out of the way of crowds that just wanted to look at the (rapidly dwindling) sights and not be solicited for money.
But guess what? Those costumed folks and desnudas aren't out there for their health; they want money, so they go where that money is likely to be—and it isn't inside those 150 square foot rectangles where they're supposed to stay ... and that made three reporters from the Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post a little upset.
"Costumed characters in Times Square are giving the finger to attempts to rein them in, refusing to stay in designated areas and continuing to curse in front of kiddies and threaten passers-by for dough," wrote Stephanie Pagones, Kate Parker and Laura Italiano in Sunday's edition. "Foul-mouthed desnudas, grabby Hulks and tourist-terrorizing gangs of Minnie Mice are still brazenly holding the Crossroads of the World hostage even amid a heavy presence of NYPD cops, who act oblivious to their disturbing antics."
Fact is, most tourists don't give a shit where the desnudas stand and solicit, but Tim Tomkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, a non-profit group that promotes local (non-adult) businesses, was happy to give the Post's reporters an earful.
"Suddenly, there’s three [Minnie Mice] in your picture," Tomkins said. "And a Batman, and a Spider-Man. And they all want cash. And they’re all outside the zone. It’s a total fucking scam, and it happens thousands of times a week—It’s those same three fucking Minnie Mouses." [Journalistic censorship removed]
Frankly, the desnudas have been a topic of controversy for several years now. Back in 2015, nearly a year before the DAZ law was passed, The New York Times called the concept an "overreaction," adding, "Times Square has an old reputation as a crossroads of bad behavior. But is it really being overrun again by vice? By pimps, prostitutes, muggers, drug dealers, bootleggers, pornographers or even card-game hustlers? Not even close. And yet The [New York Daily] News, horrified at the rampant shirtlessness, put these frightening women on Page 1 for four straight days. (Its usual spot for breasts is Page 3.) It called the city to arms to repel this 'dastardly' outrage. Predictably, distressingly, our leaders took the bait."
But this time it's the Post that's become obsessed enough with the desnudas to put them on the front page—and guess what? These same women who usually get tipped for allowing tourists to take their pictures are just a teensy bit upset that the Post's photographer was snapping away without donating.
"The reporter is instigation! Takes pictures, pictures, pictures—thousand pictures, no pay!" said one "cheeky woman," according to the Post's story published on Monday.
But what gets the Post particularly bent out of shape is, here's all these nude and semi-nude women stepping outside the DAZs and the cops aren't arresting them!
"The worst of the disturbing behavior occurred before the usual groups of cops started milling about late morning," the Post reported. "Still, the Naked Cowgirl stepped out of a DAZ to solicit tourists and collect tips in front of a group of officers—without being stopped. ... It was only after she stepped out of the DAZ a second time—with a Post reporter watching—that a cop finally told her, 'Stay on the green!' referring to the zone’s painted pavement."
But right-wing asshole Todd Starnes has the situation nailed: "An NYPD spokesperson refuted that assertion—noting they have made a number of arrests and issued 'hundreds of summons.' Well, clearly whatever they are doing is not working—and I suspect it's because Mayor Bill de Blasio and the far lefties that run New York City have no intention of arresting an illegal alien. And now you see what happens when Democrats rule a city. They've turned Times Square into a third world National Geographic special. All we're missing is a cheetah chasing a gazelle down 42nd Street."
Fortunately (or not), the New York Post isn't quite as openly racist as Starnes, but it's always darkly humorous to see a newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch giving someone shit for not being "family values" enough.