Moves to protect New York tourists from ticket hawkers

Tourists in New York are to get protection from aggressive ticket hawkers who try to waylay or force sales from them at the city’s major landmarks.

The Statue of Liberty where ticket hawkers plague tourists trying to get them to buy what they are offering

The Statue of Liberty where unscrupulous hawkers plague tourists trying to get them to buy tickets to the city's various attractions  Image by Sue Waters / CC BY 2.0

A new bill is in the offing which aims to tighten up current laws banning “aggressive solicitation” and will include ticket sellers who pounce on unsuspecting tourists in such well-known destinations as the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building.

New 1396 ft apartment building in NYC tops the Empire State Building (minus the spire).

The Empire State Building is a well-known landmark where hawkers swarm tourists in a bid to sell tickets to various attractions Image by Ivo Jansch / CC BY-SA 2.0

The New York Daily News reports that a Manhattan councilman is pushing this deterrent to stop tourists being swarmed by hawkers trying to sell tickets to shows, tours and other events to them.

Dan Garodnick, the person championing the clampdown said police needed the legal muscle to protect visitors from such tactics.

In particular, the legal restraint would be used to prevent ticket sellers who go after innocent targets by blocking their way or even intimidate by handling tourists as they make their sales pitch.

While panhandling and over aggressive pitching are already banned, the problem is that the law doesn’t specifically address ticket sellers.

Three years ago, a court ruled that tickets didn’t count as goods or services under New York city licensing rules, thus opening up the potential of a loophole.

The crowded sidewalks around the Empire State Building showcased the problem in the city, Mr Garodnick pointed out. He claimed that it was impossible to walk down that way without several people approaching you to buy a ticket.

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