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Mayor De Blasio Vows Crackdown On Topless Women In Times Square

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city is preparing to do something about topless and painted women who pose for pictures in Times Square and solicit tips.

As CBS2's Tony Aiello reported, the decision came after complaints from tourists, and concerns from people who rely on tourist dollars.

"It's wrong, it's wrong. It's just -- look I, as a progressive who believes in civil liberties and believes in our First Amendment, I understand the legal challenge here. But I don't think that's the end of the discussion," de Blasio said.

Mayor De Blasio Vows Crackdown On Topless Women In Times Square

The women call themselves "desnudas," Spanish for "naked," and pose for photos in exchange for tips.

"The paint is on, but they're still bare," one mother from Canada said as she scanned photos to delete ones photobombed by the naked women.

And now, the front page of a newspaper shows two police officers posing with the women, CBS2's Dave Carlin reported.

"Police probably shouldn't be taking pictures with them because they should be setting an example," Mark Nesbitt of London said.

CBS2 demanded answers from NYPD Chief of Department James O'Neill who said the department is investigating and disciplinary action is possible.

As 1010 WINS' Juliet Papa reported, the mayor is planning what he described as an aggressive crackdown.

"This situation is going to change. This is what I'll guarantee you, I'm not going to tolerate it," said de Blasio. "I'm not satisfied that we have used every tool in our arsenal yet."

Mayor De Blasio Vows Crackdown On Topless Women In Times Square

The mayor said the city is looking at several options, much to the relief of the Times Square Alliance.

"It is a quality of life issue, and the worst case scenario is that people don't want to come to Times Square," Caitlin Lewis said.

The alliance said visitors have emailed concerns, and vowed to spend their money elsewhere.

Manhattan Institute Scholar Myron Magnet said tourism could be at risk, pointing to increased crime in Central Park, and more homeless in tourist areas including Grand Central Terminal, and on Fifth Avenue's Museum Mile.

"The sense of disorder is very much, very much with us," Magnet said.

Street entertainer Paola Pena maintains no one is doing anything wrong.

What she does for money -- taking off her top, getting painted and posing for photos and tips is legal in New York.

But though toplessness is not illegal in New York, aggressive panhandling and aggressive solicitation are illegal.

De Blasio said collecting money for posing for pictures is a business transaction, which opens the door for oversight, WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reported.

Several city agencies, the NYPD, and consumer affairs are now examining what the mayor described as the business component of the situation in Times Square.

Asked when the enforcement would take place, de Blasio said "soon."

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