Bands of beggars dressed like Buddhist monks have invaded the High Line and other city parks, demanding upwards of $40 from tourists — and officials are fed up.
One High Line visitor handed over $5 last week, but it wasn’t good enough. “He tried to get $20,” she told The Post.
Another monk’s zen demeanor dissolved after he got just a buck in exchange for the cheap plastic bracelet he proffered.
“Five dollar, five dollar,” he demanded. He would not explain what the money was used for.
The behavior of the phony Himalayan holy men has been anything but heavenly in Bryant Park. One was spotted last week swiping a plastic water bottle from a clueless sidewalk vendor.
Other faux friars were spotted on smoking breaks, trying to hide the unchaste behavior near a subway entrance. Two napped on library ledges.
The masquerading monks are largely Chinese nationals who return to Flushing flophouses with their day’s earnings, sometimes changing out of their robes on the subway, before gathering at a local restaurant for a meal that usually includes alcohol, according to one observer.
Real Buddhist monks typically shun toxins including cigarettes and alcohol.
In fact, some use the park’s restrooms to change into their orange, brown or gray robes before heading out; khakis and Nike sneakers could be seen beneath the supposed religious garb.
Mock monks have cropped up around the world and have become a recent fixture in Times Square. They invaded parks as the weather got warmer, appearing on the High Line around April.