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After Times Square Shooting, NYC Peddlers Still Hustle For Cash

After Times Square Shooting, NYC Peddlers Still Hustle For Cash

Officer block off Times Square after shooting. (AP Photo)

The AP via YellowBrix

December 14, 2009

Anyone walking through Times Square would notice them, standing like sentries at strategic spots, holding out handfuls of fliers or walking around with clipboards. Bus tour promoters in red jackets unfold maps for visitors.

People wearing sandwich boards often shill for Broadway musicals, and some dress in costume to echo the productions they are promoting – on Friday, there were at least two young women dressed in costumes inspired by Carrie Fisher’s landmark role in “Star Wars.” Fisher’s autobiographical “Wishful Drinking” is on Broadway.

Louise Torrisi, who was selling spa tickets in Times Square a few years back when she met Martinez, said the few sellers who intimidate tourists into illegal sales “make it very hard for someone doing something honest.”

More than 3,000 vendors have licenses that entitle them to sell their wares on the street; city officials say they can’t be sure how many others are illegally hawking wares on street corners, subways and outside Broadway theaters.

Police Capt. Edward Winski said this week that his Manhattan precinct, which covers Times Square, made 400 arrests this year on charges of illegal peddling. Most involved the sale of counterfeit goods, and others were cited for failing to possess the tax stamp needed to sell.

Torrisi said Martinez used to introduce himself by saying “put some season on it” and said she didn’t see the tactics police described.

“He was always kind and warm, and I would never perceive him as someone involved in negativity,” she said. She added, “I don’t justify the gun by any means.”

Antoine Tucker, who was raised in Brooklyn and performs under the name Jus Write, said he knew Martinez, and he called the rapper’s actions “mind-boggling.”

Unlike Martinez, Tucker, 27, has a tax stamp to sell the CDs of his group, known both as Da Boulevard Boyz and the Blood Brothers.

He says he can aggressively promote his own work but gets respect for his hustle and the simple refrain, “Can you help us out with a donation?”

“No one knows us. It’s hard to get our work out there,” he said. “I’m hoping I get a break.”

  • 100_1019_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I would never visit time square! It sounds like these guys just harrass you and wont leave you alone.

  • Cpu_2010_max50


    over 4 years ago


    They are very aggressive. I was up there in Sept. and I would have never even gone out to times square in the day let alone in the dark without my little friend. Thank god we can carry anywhere. I felt much better with my weapon.

  • Native_clip_art_4_049_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Lot of changes have happened since last in Big Apple. Never know what one of these individuals may do.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    You know... We got Times Square quite clean under Guiliani...
    But, when he left...
    Well, I just knew it was only a matter of time for it to become a mess. It's only bound to get worst.

  • Irishflag_max50


    over 4 years ago


    They are really aggressive with it no matter what they're selling. I've been approached by grown men who say they are "selling candy for their basketball team" and aggressively try to get you to buy it. Really? Your basketball team?

  • Th_detective_max50


    over 4 years ago


    What they are doing is similar to panhandling and they do not obtain the necessary permits to peddle their crap. While the majority of them are low-level, and harmless street hustlers looking to make a buck, a number of them are also junkies, jailbirds and basic street criminals. When my wife and I are approached by any particularly aggressive members of these street peddler groups I usually just flip my badge out and they scurry off into the dark shadows from whence they came.

  • Img_0338_max50


    over 4 years ago


    These guys are VERY AGGRESSIVE!! Every time I pass through Times Square off-duty, sometimes on a date with my girl, they heckle you & may sometimes want to follow you. That's why I ALWAYS carry my Baby Glock off-duty because you'll never know what these perps have up their sleeves in store for you. Let's be careful out there!!

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