WELLINGTON, New Zealand — It'll be Barry Manilow versus the mall rats.
The New Zealand city of Christchurch hopes that putting the American crooner's smooth and gentle tones into the mix of music to be broadcast through the central mall district can pacify unruly teens who congregate there, or at least convince them to go elsewhere.
"The intention is to change the environment in a positive way ... so nobody feels threatened or intimidated," Central City Business Association manager Paul Lonsdale told The Associated Press. "I did not say Barry Manilow is a weapon of mass destruction."
A group of several dozen young people regularly spread rubbish, spray graffiti, get intoxicated, use drugs, swear and intimidate patrons at the outdoor mall, he said.
The city council, police and local property owners covering 410 businesses agree that "nice, easy listening" music like Manilow's "Can't Smile Without You," "Mandy" and other hits might change the behavior of loitering teens.
But one 16-year-old told The Press newspaper that unfashionable music wouldn't deter them.
"We would just bring a stereo and play it louder," Emma Belcher said.
Lonsdale countered that the city would then hit them with anti-noise laws.
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