IMG_9510Everyone knows (or should know by now) that it’s legal for women in New York to go topless anywhere a man can. Out on the beach, in the park, wherever. Sadly, though, outside of art exhibitions and theatrical performances, it’s not legal for either women or men to be fully nude in a public place. So where are you supposed to go when the heat approaches triple digits and you just need to get those last shreds of clothing off?

IMG_9384IMG_9416IMG_9436Native New Yorkers will tell you: the roof of your apartment building. But that only works as long as you don’t have overly nosy or censorious neighbors. Happily there’s an alternative, if you’re willing to rent a hotel room: the rooftop sundeck of our favorite boutique hotel in Chelsea, which is clothing optional 24/7, 365 days a year.

IMG_9209True, you’d only want to take your clothing off in New York maybe 10/7 and 120 days a year; but during those hours, on those days, this rooftop is a blessing. Private and serene, quiet and well appointed, you can bask in the sun or lounge under an umbrella…

IMG_9087IMG_8997…read a book or enjoy the scenery…

IMG_9402IMG_9241…have a drink or a smoke…

IMG_9351IMG_9520…or find novel uses for heart-shaped lemon cookies.

IMG_9045Other hotel guests turn up occasionally, but everyone’s tolerant and no one raises a fuss over a bared vulva or exposed penis. And mere bare breasts…? You’ve got to be kidding. That’s nothing at all.

IMG_9480rIMG_9022We’ve been coming here for years by now — at least six — and it’s become sort of a second home for us, a secret lair: our Batcave, if you will.

MK47382013-f62013-f30911-MK5And we’re glad to share our Batcave with you — photographically, as you see here, or in person if you’re a body-positive woman in the New York area (or visiting New York, that’s fine too!). Just drop us a note at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and let us know you’re interested, or curious, or whatever.

If you’ve ever hesitated about taking your clothes off outdoors, this is the perfect way for you to dip a toe in the water. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being naked in the sun — and in our little private hideaway, you can do it without any worries at all.

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Yesterday we posted the story of how our most recent park visit, downtown in the vicinity of the Statue of Liberty (for maximum irony), briefly got interrupted by eight police officers hopeful they might persuade us not to do what we have every right to do (or maybe just eager for a good look). Now you can judge for yourself whether what they saw constituted an affront to decency and civility.

IMG_8605IMG_8814Happily the police decided it did not, or at least had to concede that they had no legal right to intrude. So off they slunk and we continued having the very relaxing, very pleasant afternoon we’d been having before they showed up.

IMG_8622Books read ranged from Sense and Sensibility to SoHo Sins, from Stephen King’s classic It to Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 to Megan Abbott and Alison Gaylin’s brand new comic book Normandy Gold

IMG_8771IMG_8798IMG_8778Oh, and the Sunday Times crossword puzzle!

IMG_8677IMG_8731Much fresh produce was consumed, and the grocery store stickers cheekily repurposed for social commentary.

IMG_8504Handstands were performed.

IMG_8746Also piggyback rides.

IMG_8923Naps were taken.

IMG_8902And police officers were educated.

IMG_8863All in all, a very good day.

IMG_8759And who knows? Maybe on her day off, one of the female officers in the group that accosted us might even try it for herself.

We extended the invitation.

 

IMG_8835Twenty-five years ago, a New York court ruled that women have the same right as men do to go bare-chested in public places; ever since then, it has been legal for a woman to take her top off in any city park. Ten days ago, we continued our ongoing celebration of this milestone in equal rights, body freedom, and just plain common sense with a trip down to Nelson Rockefeller Park, barely a hop, skip and a swim away from the Statue of Liberty. A giant statue of a woman enshrining the principle of liberty! What could be more appropriate?

You’d think so. But apparently someone found the sight of our bare chests distressing — think of the children! — and called the police. And rather than just telling the complainer that there was nothing they could do since what we were doing was perfectly legal, the police came out to the park to talk to us. And not just one police officer, or two, or three, or four. Or five. Or six! Or, god help us, seven.

No, it took eight police officers, in full regalia, to investigate the menace posed by our uncovered nipples.

Eight! That’s enough cops to put down a riot, or to patrol eight neighborhoods that could benefit from an actual reduction in, you know. actual crime. But instead of doing what might colloquially be referred to as “their jobs,” these unmerry souls, bearing facial expressions better suited to a funeral than to a lovely summer’s day, came trundling over like the world’s grouchiest welcoming party.

We’ve gotten complaints, this is a public place, there are children around, we’re going to ask you courteously–

We appreciate the courtesy, we told them, but the answer is no. This a public place, as you say, and we have every right to do what we’re doing. And a right you can be pressured into not exercising is no right at all.

We also handed the officers a printout of the internal police memo from a few years back reminding all NYPD personnel that female toplessness is not a crime and that they are not to arrest any woman merely for baring her chest.

IMG_8848The result? Grudgingly, they acknowledged that we were right — and reluctantly, slowly they headed off.

IMG_8863It was a victory, no question about it. But why is it even necessary to have the battle?

From time to time people ask us, sometimes in an irritated tone, why we bother demonstrating for something we already have the legal right to do. What’s the point? You’ve already won! And that’s true. But at the same time, it’s not. It’s not nearly true enough, not yet. What it’ll take to make it true enough is more days out in the park like this one, a lot more, until finally no one casts a second glance in our direction.

The best victory is the one you don’t have to keep winning.

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IMG_6347A couple months back, we reported on our first encounter with a place called Doob, where you enter a futuristic white chamber, some mechanisms pop and whirr, and out comes a miniature, 3D-printed replica of you, a little like the last kid in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (Unlike the Dahl story, though, the original you remains intact and unharmed. Whew!)

IMG_6337Well. We couldn’t Doob half a dozen of our members without several others clamoring to be Doobed too. So we returned to their downtown studio for a second round.

IMG_6291IMG_6326IMG_6371Three more poses to select, three more turns through the machinery, and then three more 6-week stretches for the printing to be done (it’s not instant, like the phrase “and out comes” might suggest), and presto, three more of us have mini-me’s to cuddle and show off.

IMG_6902IMG_6938IMG_8575Is it worth the money? Yeah, it kind of totally is, even though these things are expensive (like hundreds of dollars each, though the kind folks at Doob cut us a deal in recognition of the number of them we ordered). Just imagine having a little naked you on your bookshelf to astonish your friends and embarrass your parents!

IMG_6989Or you might find other uses for your Doob. Only limited by your imagination, as they say. 🙂

IMG_7004More outdoor fun to report on soon. (Much, much more!) But in the meantime, we and our little friends will be getting to know each other better in the comfort of our own homes.

 

IMG_8455Andy Golub, the visionary artist behind New York Bodypainting Day, has formed a new non-profit arts organization called Human Connection Arts, to spread the word that art and nudity can both be tools for human connection — and that the human body, in all its infinite variety, is deserving of respect and love.

IMG_8421The group’s first project, called “Body Notes,” took place last Friday in the middle of Times Square, with literally tens of thousands of workers and tourists, businesspeople and students, the young and the old, all present to witness and enjoy what we were doing. Who were “we”? About 200 models, women and men, including a number of members of our book club. And what were we doing? Getting completely naked and painting each other from head to toe, first with base coats of orange, blue and yellow, and then with heartfelt messages chosen by each model to express a point of view important to her or him.

IMG_8412IMG_8404RandAIt was a revelatory experience and a liberating one — to stand naked at the Crossroads of the World, with a sea of humanity around us, with police there to protect us, not to hassle us, and with the vast majority of the people in the crowd just honestly curious, and many of them enthusiastic.

IMG_8378So many people posed for photos with us! Or blushed at first and then asked how they could get involved. Or just nodded and took it all in. It was a profound moment of acceptance and tolerance and open-mindedness.

IMG_8384Every body type was represented, every age, every race, every gender.

IMG_8431IMG_8462IMG_8312And we all treated each other — and ourselves — with the kindness and respect we deserved.

IMG_8447Now, if you’d like to see how the event ended, you can Google “Body Notes” and see countless photos that ran in the media all over the world, of a mass of hundreds of painted models swarming the bleachers at the north end of Times Square and posing as a group for photos memorializing the event. Instead of repeating those, we thought we’d share some photos of how the event began, when we were all just works in progress, getting those first coats of paint on. The humanity of it inspired us — we hope it will inspire you too.

IMG_8324IMG_8329IMG_8363IMG_8416IMG_8290IMG_8337IMG_8323IMG_8335IMG_8388If you are inspired, take a look at Human Connection Arts and their upcoming events. Or, of course, drop us a note at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and join us at one of our get-togethers. There are many, many opportunities to exercise your freedom and be part of something wonderful. Don’t let them pass you by.

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IMG_7376We are America.

IMG_7213We are gay and we are straight. We are black and white and red all over. We are thick and thin, students and teachers, teenagers and old souls.

IMG_7445IMG_7324We are hungry and we are full.

IMG_7338IMG_7429We are in love and we are solitaires.

IMG_7237IMG_7326IMG_7323We are readers of books. Of Maya Angelou and Walter Mosley and Chester Himes. Of Donald Westlake, Erle Stanley Gardner, and Max Allan Collins. We are lovers of the written word, the spoken word, the freedom to speak and to write and to read any words we choose.

IMG_7208IMG_7383IMG_7404We are lovers of the human body, of our bodies, of the freedom to inhabit our bodies without shame or prejudice.

IMG_7228We are proud.

IMG_7276IMG_7293We are world travelers, we are New Yorkers.

IMG_7198We are rain and sun.

IMG_7187We are are ink on the unwritten page.

We are tomorrow.

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IMG_6774Continuing our celebration of the 25th anniversary of the court decision legalizing female toplessness in New York, we visited the famous boulder in Riverside Park where Edgar Allan Poe used to sit and write, back before it looked out over the West Side Highway. Where better to get rid of our constricting tops and enjoy some reading…

IMG_6764…some delicious fruit…

IMG_6866IMG_6870..some yoga…

IMG_6797…and a push-up challenge?

IMG_6756The weather has turned rainy ever since, so we’re glad we got outside while the getting was good.

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Our next event is planned for Friday, June 2nd — want to join us? If you’re a body-positive woman in the New York area, we’d love to meet you. Just email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com. Liberation awaits.

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