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A New York Post reporter went undercover in Times Square as one of the topless, painted women that Mayor Bill de Blasio is trying to eradicate from city streets.
Amber Jamieson sought out a painted lady “manager” in Times Square and was introduced to Chris, who works as a security guard when he’s not painting topless women.
“Chris told me how it works: first the girls (Saira and Chris’ girlfriend, Amanda, 23) go into Sephora to use the free samples to do their makeup,” Jamieson writes.
“Then, in the middle of Times Square, they throw on a robe and strip underneath it. Chris would paint our bodies using brushes, nipples first so they’re not exposed too long.
“His cousin, David, would mind my bag, take photos and be ready to pounce if anyone tried to touch me inappropriately.”
Chris, in turn, gets 30% of the girls’ earnings.
De Blasio recently vowed to crack down on nudity in Times Square with a new task force dedicated to addressing the problem.
“It’s wrong, it’s just wrong,” De Blasio said of the painted ladies, according to the New York Daily News. “I don’t like the situation in Times Square.”
It’s not illegal to be topless in Times Square, though it is against the law to haggle tourists for money. There’s nothing wrong with accepting tips.
Jamieson arrived in Times Square wearing only a robe at 3 p.m. Wednesday for her first shift as a “painted lady.” She took her robe off in public, while Chris painted her and gave her a feathered headpiece to wear.
She said many tourists took pictures with her and showered her with compliments throughout the day. Some took pictures from afar, while others chose to follow her for as long as 30 minutes.
Some tried to touch her, but her “managers” were nearby and stepped in quickly.
Over the course of seven hours, including a couple breaks, she made $US286 in tips — without the 30% cut.
She said the experience made her realise that the topless painted women are pretty harmless.
“After walking a mile in their headdresses, I realise the fight against the painted ladies is deeply sexist,” she writes.
“The Naked Cowboy strolls around Times Square wearing only his Y-front s… and he’s regarded as a charming, quintessential New York experience.
“But women exercising their legal right to be topless and hustle for money in the world’s center of capitalism — surrounded by advertisements of sexy, half-dressed women — are apparently shameful and inappropriate.”
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