Sunday, March 25, 2012

Times Square's Costumed Grifters

Best looking "Mickey" we saw, right before
a child slipped out of his father's arms to run into
his for a picture.
I visit the "special Toys R Us" as my son calls it on Times Square often with my little one.  Every time we visit, it is a guarantee that we see something..well interesting on our way in and out!  Over the years the costumed grifters have increased.  Right out of the train, I saw three people getting into costumes right on the steps of the train station, as I made sure my son didn't see any of it.  We saw at least four "Elmo's," three "Mickey Mouse" characters in different themes, "The Smurfs," of course the funny/strange looking versions of either Cookie Monster or Grover, it was a parade of funny costumed grifters, in every direction once on Times Square.

As their numbers increase they seem to be getting more and more "aggressive" as they get a little closer to almost grab your child.  The thought and strategy for them is lure the child in and then the parent feels like they have to pay and many seem to, not this mom though.  My son will not be getting near those (sorry) stinky dirty strange costumes...  One "Hello Kitty," out of at least five we spotted while walking around, kept following us within that one block, targeting my son by calling him over gesturing with it's big furry arms.  My son was excited like every child was to see a fun character walking around.  I didn't want to scare my son, so I said something along the lines of "yeah how fun" and told him not to get close. lol!  I nearly lost it, by the fifth time I turned around and I heard "it" speak, and say "come, come" in a strange "girly" voice bowing slightly looking down at my son.  Sounded like a man, making a "girly" voice.  I looked straight at its mouth, assuming that is where the person was looking through, and said "NO, no more, stop it!"  Once I said that, it worked, "it" stopped following us with it's little money bag hanging by it's side.  

I see the excitement that every child gets when we see our favorite characters roaming the streets of colorful lights, I admit even I was pointing them out..at first.  But, when will they stop increasing?  It is no longer "Oh look Elmo," if we just see like five of them hanging out together, not to mention how they all look a little different (with one's eyes a little more cross-eyed then the next).  Takes away the excitement of going to a theme park or having one over for a birthday party, and having kids believe that they are "real."  It is just like going to the mall to see "Santa" and seeing four of them sitting next to each other.  I'm sure my son has already figured out after seeing so many of them pass by what they are exactly.  Thank you costumed grifters of Times Square for that, I wonder how many parents feel the way I do?!

In the end, I want to be nice, but I'm not a fan of them.  Is it because I see them so often?  Are they only there to swindle some money from tourists?  As a New Yorker, I haven't stopped to take a picture with any of them, and don't know anyone from here that has either.  I get it, times are hard, but I do wish they would stop standing on 'every' street corner and in between.  There's too many of them, and too many costumes that don't look good.  I read somewhere they make around $500 during the weekdays, and around $300 on weekends, and I have seen them busy, photo after photo.  Seems an easy "job," if you could call it that, when the weather is nice out, good for them as they must be people trying to provide for their families, but I really hope we will see less of them in the hot Summer days!

Have you encountered with one or five?  ;)  What are your thoughts?


5 comments:

  1. Never encountered this..but very interesting! Your newest follower via blog hop! Please follow back so we can share our  everyday life!!!

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  2.  Your newest follower via blog hop! Please follow back so we can share our creativity!!!

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  3. Ummm.... all I can say is weird!  I have been to NYC once with my husband for our anniversary several years ago, I didn't notice these creepy costumed characters...  and yes we did go to the "Special Toys R Us"  My 3 year old would be terrified if we encountered that anywhere... because she is afraid of ANY costumed character.  Santa, the Easter Bunny, Elmo, Zoe, you name it she is terrified of them in person; at the mall we have to go around the holiday character she won't even look them!  So, if I get to take my kids NYC I hope either we don't see any of those creepy characters, or that my daughter is no longer terrorized by them!  

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  4. they probably all have houses in the hamptons. yes they are there to take your money. i wonder if bloomberg will do anything about the, i used to live in NYC so i can make these comments.

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  5. Hilarious.. I work in Times Square and after watching a particularly aggressive group swarm naive tourists on the way back from lunch, I decided to Google to see what the internet had to say about them.. and i found this. Great commentary- dead on - hilarious...and kind of frightening. I've seen them stright up hussle many tourists on my way to and from work, and it's disturbing. Thanks for an accurate and entertaining read :)

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