Mayor Bill de Blasio's task force on Times Square met for the first time Thursday as a group of prominent New Yorkers is suggesting a way to deal with the area's public performers.
A coalition of business leaders, building owners and elected officials are pushing for the creation of dedicated "activity zones" for people like the painted topless women and costumed characters who take photos for money.
"Civic zones" would be set aside for public events.
"Flow zones" would let pedestrians move freely through the area.
The president of the Times Square Alliance says the idea is to allow for freedom of expression and movement without letting things get out of hand.
It's unclear whether the special zone idea will satisfy the mayor. He has said the women and characters have set up a business in Times Square and should be regulated like a business.
Police Commissioner William Bratton, who co-chairs the task force, also said he needed to look more closely at the proposal.
"Would it make it easier to control? Certainly," Bratton said. "But would it, in fact, work? That's one of the issues that is going to require a little more thought and a little more conversation."
Bratton earlier suggested that the city tear out pedestrian plazas to eliminate the aggressive panhandling.
Some local officials opposed the idea but say they're now confident the plazas will be safe going forward.
"What we heard from the city today was that they are going to move to the completion of all of the construction work in Times Square, which includes finishing the plazas. That, to us, means that we are on a path of trying to think about solutions to the Times Square challenges that we have in the context of the existence of plazas, and that's the right thing," said City Councilman Daniel Garodnick of Manhattan.
The mayor's task force is expected to present its findings by October 1.
They will meet again Friday.