A fake Cookie Monster needs a real lawyer after what New York City prosecutors say was an ugly incident in Times Square involving the 2-year-old son of a Bollywood star, an impromptu photo shoot and a court appearance.
Impersonator Osvaldo Quiroz-Lopez could use a real publicist, too. Local media are all over his crumbling Cookie - the New York Post front page screams "Crooky Monster;" the Daily News went with "Tough Cookie" - who was arraigned Monday on charges of reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child.
The incident began when Sagar and Parmita Kurada and their son, Samay, headed to Toys R Us on Sunday for a bit of shopping. The area is a hotbed for puppet impersonators, with no actual connection to the store or Sesame Street, offering to pose for photos and hoping to collect tips.
Parmita Kurada, whose stage name in India is Parmita Katkar, told the Post she was walking with Samay and her 8-month-old son, Swhaas, when they were swarmed by the impersonators.
"I just thought they were being friendly," she said. "It's strange. We weren't even talking to them. These guys walk up to you and say, 'Take a picture! Take a picture!' "
She told the Post she took photos of Samay with several characters, but the Cookie Monster character became verbally abusive and pushed Samay. Her husband, Sagar, called police who arrested Quiroz-Lopez.
He "was right next to me saying, 'Come on, come on! Give me the money!' " Kurada told the Daily News. "I was getting scared. I thought he was going to attack me or he was going to hit me."
The criminal complaint alleges that when Quiroz-Lopez demanded $2, but Kurada said she didn't have any cash. "You are a bitch, your son is a bastard and your stuff is trash," responded Quiroz-Lopez, 33, according to the court papers.
"She then observed the defendant place his hands on her son and push him, causing her son to lose his balance and nearly fall to the ground,'' the complaint says.
So much for little Samay's love affair with Sesame Street characters.
"All he keeps saying is, 'I don't like the Cookie Monster, I don't like the Cookie Monster,'" Kurada told the Post.
Quiroz-Lopez's boyfriend said Kurada's story can't be accurate.
"I've lived with him for seven years," the man , who didn't give his name, told the Post. "He's not that guy."
The Post notes that Times Square's costumed characters have become a "scourge."
"Everybody's concerned about this, and they're trying to find a thoughtful way to respond that respects free speech and addresses real concerns about public safety,'' said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance.