It's legal to be topless in the city, but Mayor Bill de Blasio says he wants to regulate people who try to make money at it, in Times Square. NY1’s Lori Chung filed this report.
Emilia Laporta says this is how she earns money when she visits New York—taking pictures in Times Square wearing little more than body paint and a smile, with people who seem to enjoy it.
“Most of them are respectful. They like us, they smile at us, they leave us tips after the picture," Laporta says.
She says it's her right. She’s one of several women engaged in a profession city hall is looking to curb.
"It’s wrong, it’s wrong. As a progressive who believes in civil liberties and who believes in our first amendment, I understand the legal challenge here but I don’t think that’s the end of the discussion," said Mayor Bill de Blasio Tuesday.
Mayor de Blasio says he's optimistic that an issue critics see as a problem can be addressed—with his administration looking at ways to enforce rules here.
"We have a group of agencies including obviously NYPD, including consumer affairs and others that are working right now on a different vision on how to approach Times Square," he said.
That’s welcome news to the Times Square Alliance who say this sort of business in the area has gone unchecked for too long.
"The issue is much less about what people are wearing than the nature of the aggressive solicitation where people don't have a choice about being hugged or groped," says Times Square Alliance President Tim Tompkins.
Supporters say the women have as much a right to be here as anyone.
"Let everyone do whatever they want to do. That's all," one woman says.
"This is Times Square. You see in Times Square, you don't like to see this, do not come to Time Square," says one man.
Laporta says not everyone is supportive but she says she and the other women here find their best support in the law.
"That's legal and there is a kind of freedom in this country so I don't think they're going to be able to do something against us but they can try," Laporta says.