September 1, 2015

Topless Panhandling in Times Square, New York City

Just because you can do something, does not mean that you should. In the 1949 Terminiello case, [. . .] Associate Justice Robert Jackson wrote [. . .]: "The choice is not between order and liberty. It is between liberty with order and anarchy without either. There is danger that, [. . .] with[out] a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact." Justice Arthur Goldberg [in] 1963 U.S. Supreme Court case Kennedy v. Mendoza-Martinez. [. . .] wrote: "While it [the Constitution] confirms citizenship rights, plainly there are imperative obligations of citizenship, for while the Constitution protects against invasions of individual rights, it is not a suicide pact."

[From article]
Rudy Giuliani’s administration was determined to push the smut peddlers out of Times Square. Smart application of Broken Windows policing and some innovative zoning changes did the trick, but not without lots of moaning from those who lamented the city’s “Disneyfication.”
[. . .]
Over the weekend, the New York Post sent Jamieson—a twentysomething reporter and native of Australia—to get to the topless bottom of the desnudas debacle. Stripping down to her skivvies, donning a feathery headdress, and painting her upper body in red, white, and blue, Jamieson spent eight hours posing for photos with tourists. She passed her tips along to Chris, a “baby-faced rapper wannabe” and nipple-painting artist, security guard, and “manager” to several of the naked ladies. Jamieson made $210 for her efforts. For his, Chris made just $76. It’s not easy being a pimp.
[. . .]
The experience of walking around mostly naked in Times Square, she says, was empowering. She reports hearing lots of encouragement of the “You go girl!” variety. The customers are polite, the desnudas are just “women exercising their legal right to be topless and hustle for money in the world’s center of capitalism,”
[. . .]
the 2009 decision by then-mayor Michael Bloomberg to turn the southern half of Times Square into a pedestrian plaza had some unintended consequences. The new space has attracted a slightly shady element—aggressive panhandlers, selfie Elmos, and now the desnudas.
[. . .]
the quality of New York City’s public spaces is declining. As goes Times Square, so goes the city.

Who’s Square?
New York can be for a place for residents, families, and businesses, or it can be a place for street hustlers—but not both.
August 31, 2015

No comments: