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Nicole O'Hara, Gross McGinley Nicole O’Hara, Gross McGinley

If you’ve ever walked around Times Square in New York City for more than 30 seconds, you know that while SpongeBob SquarePants lives in a pineapple under the sea, SpongeyGuy SquareFace likely takes the PATH in every day from Hoboken. The dedicated professionals who portray beloved costumed characters and often slightly askew versions thereof have faced some trials of late, including confinement within specific “activity zones” in Times Square by the city’s Department of Transportation, arrests for minor disagreements over tips, and brawls with each other and passers-by, see Vera Haller, “After Years of Bad Behavior, the Costumed Characters of New York’s Times Square No Longer Roam Free,” LA Times, Aug. 3, 2016. Yet these costumed characters and the spirited performers within the oversized heads persist, for the love of the adoring fans who stop to take a selfie with them and for the money they subsequently expect, solicit or demand.

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