Street Performer Licensure in Times Square

Street performers, particularly the desnudas, are getting outrage now: coordinated pickpocketing teams, drug and sex solicitation, groping by people wearing masks, etc.  Treating such workers as other street vendors is an easy fix by filtering only those who are truly professional.

Every performer in Times Square needs an RFID license-badge, and plainclothes officers use scanners to pick up anyone who doesn’t have a license. The scanner shows a photo from the registration of the performer, so no unvetted people can do this.  Everyone gets transparency.


Let’s even make it worthwhile for the performer: the badge has a location for the performers marketing-URL and a QR-code. Leave room for a second QR-code for e-pay donations, which will be a safer for the performer, so they carry less cash. The web-presence URLs let the performer develop a brand that makes them more available for other performance work.

I’ll take the bet against anyone who says that system is not good for everyone.

On a personal angle

All of this ‘desnudas’ thing is just a bad rip-off of Carnival in Rio – not respectful of the tradition, and makes the US look even more like clowns.

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