IMG_6273This past Saturday, five dozen people took all their clothes off in Washington Square Park. Some of our members were among them.

IMG_6041IMG_6147IMG_6135IMG_6055IMG_4250Not only did no one call the cops on this display of naked bodies, but the cops were already there and fully supportive — they were present to make sure everything went smoothly and that none of the naked people were harassed or bothered. And none of us were.

IMG_6131Now, here’s an interesting fact: one day later, if any of us had tried to undress to the exact same extent in the exact same place, we would have gotten stopped, and maybe arrested, by those exact same cops. Does that make any sense to you?

Yes, Saturday was a special day: the 5th annual “New York Bodypainting Day” festival. For five years, artist Andy Golub has brought together fellow artists from all over the country and all over the world to paint nude models on one afternoon in the summer. And yes, there is an exception in the public indecency laws for nudity that occurs in the course of making or exhibiting art. That’s why no one got arrested on Saturday.

But what’s the logic? How can it possibly be the case that sixty fully naked women and men standing in a group is an inoffensive sight one day, but the following day even just one fully naked woman or man — perhaps lying among a bunch of sunbathers such as this group that watched us for hours on Saturday — is offensive enough to be deemed illegal?

IMG_6268The prude who says a breast, a vulva, a penis is always and automatically shameful may be wrong (in our humble opinion), but at least the prude is consistent. The person who says vulvas and penises are fine on Saturday but forbidden every other day is either the strangest Sabbath observer ever or else just a hypocrite.

IMG_6308But — as long as the hypocrites are making the rules, we’ll take such opportunities for freedom as we’re granted. One day each year when we can shed the last little vestiges of our clothes out in the park is better than none.

IMG_6312IMG_6190IMG_6292And this one was better than most. The weather was absolutely perfect (not a hint of rain in the sky), the crowd was supportive (not a complaint heard, at least by our ears), there were a pianist and a xylophonist nearby for musical accompaniment (randomly), and we even were graced with a street fair right outside the park, for when our thirst required fresh-squeezed lemonade to quench it (Andy kindly supplied some snacks as well, including unintentionally appropriate ones).

IMG_6253The art that emerged from this inspiring environment was suitably inspired. Meant to reflect this year’s theme, “Movement,” we saw everything from the literal, with moving flora and fauna–

IMG_6250IMG_6263IMG_6241IMG_6338…to the metaphorical, such as a bit of cubism (which began, remember, as an attempt to show movement on a static canvas — how great to see it attempted on a rippling moving canvas!)

IMG_4240…or the sort of movement that results in social change:

IMG_4258Speaking of which, we’re a bit of a movement ourselves, aren’t we? Sparking social change, making people think differently about what they’ve always assumed. Seeking freedom.

IMG_6326On Saturday we were free. In a way we rarely have the opportunity to be. Could Monday morning be just as free someday?

Yes. Someday. We firmly believe that. With or without paint, with or without clothes, bodies should be free.

IMG_6052IMG_6143IMG_6181If you’d like to join our little movement, drop us a note: toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com. With your help, we’ve got some brick walls we’d like to bust through together.

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IMG_4834Five years ago, a painter named Andy Golub had a brilliant brainstorm. He’d been painting works of art on the bodies of individual models for some time, and had won some legal battles establishing that he had the right to do so outdoors in New York City. (It’s legal for women to be topless outdoors in New York anywhere a man can; full nudity is generally not legal in public for anyone of any gender. But there’s an exception — women and men can both be naked in public places as part of an artistic exhibition or a play. And being painted as a human canvas is certainly an artistic exhibition.)

IMG_4923So here’s the brilliant brainstorm he had: what if, instead of one painter painting one model in a public place, he brought together fifty painters and fifty models — models of all ages, sizes, races, and genders, painters from all over the country and all over the world? Suddenly, the artist and model would no longer be outnumbered by a confused and judgmental crowd — in one place, for a time, naked would be the norm. Art would be the norm.

IMG_4943And so Bodypainting Day was born. This year is the 5th anniversary, and anyone interested in attending can find the group in Washington Square Park starting around noon on Saturday, July 14. In anticipation of the big day, and maybe to get his painting arm limbered up, Andy met with us this week on our favorite rooftop sundeck and tested out some wonderful new designs.

It’s fun to be a human canvas, and even more fun to watch the process as your friends get turned into living works of art.

IMG_4461IMG_4515IMG_4734IMG_4504IMG_4585IMG_4608IMG_4682IMG_4711IMG_4533IMG_4643IMG_4683IMG_4741IMG_4856And lest you think bodypainting is just for girls…

IMG_4496IMG_4629IMG_4716IMG_4749IMG_4782Turnabout being fair play, at the end one of the painters got painted:

IMG_4887And we even had a spectator or two who remained pristine.

IMG_4656Look like fun? It was. If you’re thinking you might like to try this someday — with or without the paint — we welcome all curious and body-positive women to join us. Just send email to toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and tell us a little about yourself. You’ll be under the sun — and who knows, maybe under the brush too — in no time.

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IMG_9153We heard from our sister group in Australia again with more photos from their visit to their local beach. And this being the 4th of July, we figured it was as good a time as any to share them with you. We love this group of proud, independent, body-positive ladies and hope someday soon they come to NYC for a visit.

SwanMay2018-2SwanMay2018-3We, meanwhile, have no beach trip planned for the holiday, but we’re delighted to take this opportunity to look back at past visits to Coney Island…

IMG_8532…and Riis Beach.

IMG_3088IMG_3319New York City is not blessed with truly great beaches, alas, and certainly not ones where we’re able to be as completely free as our Aussie friends. But we do still enjoy a touch of sand and sea. So another outing to the shore may be in our future.

Would you like to come with us if we do go? Or to any of our in-the-city events, for that matter? Just email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com. We welcome all like-minded women to come beat the heat with us.

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IMG_4119We went to Bryant Park the other day expecting to get to lie on the lawn — but when we got there, the lawn was roped off, with signs proclaiming that the grass was taking time out to rest after getting stomped on by several hundred pairs of feet during a recent event.

Slightly disappointing — but being dextrous improvisors, we pulled a pair of tables and half a dozen chairs over to the edge of the lawn and sat ourselves down for a lovely and civilized topless picnic, fueled by nibbles sourced from park purveyors.

IMG_4074IMG_4085IMG_4114Interestingly “time out” was an apt theme for the day’s festivities, since we were joined for part of the afternoon by an editor from the magazine Time Out New York, which has written about our activities from time to time over the past several years. While she didn’t get topless herself, she mentioned that she’d spent time topless on Fire Island, so…we have hopes we might yet convert her from curious-observer to full-participating-member status.

IMG_4303In the meantime, we enjoyed our sojourn in what is perhaps Manhattan’s busiest and least private park. Jammed in the heart of midtown, this particular urban oasis leans toward the ‘urban’ side of that formulation. The result was an unusual number of random people sneaking cell-phone photos of us and looking furtive when we made it clear we saw what they were doing.

IMG_4385On the other hand, we also had some lovely interactions, including with a park security officer who stood up for us repeatedly whenever he was asked if what we were doing was legal (it was, and he knew it, and he patiently repeated it to anyone who questioned it), and with this fellow, whose service dog welcomed the warm hug we offered it.

IMG_4281There was ample sun and a variety of spots from which to enjoy its caresses.

IMG_4179IMG_4162There was talk of politics and body image and subjective feelings of comfort, including some discussion of why it feels different to be topless with your nipples bare vs. topless with your nipples covered. (One of our members came to our event straight from a swimsuit photoshoot for which she’d had nipple covers already in place, and she left them on as much for visual variety as any other reason.)

IMG_4228IMG_4233And to add to the whole covered/uncovered dichotomy there was this is-it-a-top? top, which served not only in the park but for the subway ride home after as well.

IMG_4039IMG_4182-subwayAll in all, a terrific way to celebrate the first full week of summer. Would you like to join us for the second? We have a very special private bodypainting event coming up, followed by an outdoor acroyoga class taught by a member who’s not only an acro instructor but also a black belt in taekwondo! If you’d like to come to one of those — or just to one of our regular events where all be do is sip cool beverages and hang out — please email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com.  All women are welcome! We hope you’ll take a moment to write and say hi.

And remember: it’s your right as much as it is his.

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IMG_0864Today, our blog topped 22.5 million views — a random number, but also sort of an astonishing one when you consider that we’re just one small group in one city, quietly going about our business. Granted, it’s a big city and what we’re doing is eye-catching. But still. It’s gratifying to know that our message has peacefully spread to so many readers in so many parts of the world. (Fewer than half our views have come from the United States; the rest have come from everywhere from Europe and Australia to Micronesia, Vatican City, even North Korea.)

People across America and throughout the world have seen that in New York it’s possible for women to enjoy the same freedom as men, and for women’s bodies to be treated as normal and ordinary and healthy, rather than shameful or provocative or in some other way deserving of being forcibly covered up or hidden away.

0713-jWe’ve flown the banner of freedom in parks and plazas,

park-jMadisonSq-eOn rooftops and in restaurants,

IMG_9479IMG_5605IMG_7071At landmarks and monuments,

octpfas_081513-9618AS_2382In front of audiences of hundreds and alone in privacy of our little inflatable pool,

IMG_5038IMG_9556In bikini bottoms and in nothing at all.

IMG_3009IMG_2965IMG_2887And through it all we’ve maintained our sense of humor and patience and our conviction that in the end the world will come to see things our way.

Would you like to be part of our grand adventure? Whether you’ve ever done it before or are a nervous first-timer, we welcome all women. Just email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and let us know you’re interested. You’ll be bare-chested under the sun before you know it. And we have a feeling you’re going to love it. 🙂

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IMG_3695Everyone knows — at least everyone who comes to this blog does — that it’s legal in New York for women to go topless outdoors, anywhere that it’s legal for men to do it. But being fully nude is another story.

IMG_3493There are times and places where it’s legal — if you’re putting on a play or participating in the creation or exhibition of art, for instance — but generally speaking if it’s just a nice, sunny day and you’d like to lose your swimsuit bottom as well as your top, your options are limited.

IMG_3550IMG_3539What New Yorkers commonly do is go up to the roof of their apartment building and do it there, though it’s not without risk. You won’t get stopped by the police, but a neighbor might see you and object, or see you and rather too enthusiastically not object, and either way can be awkward.

Our solution for the past several summers has been to visit the sundeck of a little hotel in Chelsea that has made its rooftop officially clothing optional — the sole official nude sunbathing option in the city, as far as we know. You can only use it if you’re a guest at the hotel, so we book a room and then the roof is ours.

IMG_3387It’s a five-story walk-up, so lugging supplies can be a chore…but we’ve been known to do it anyway, reconstructing the better part of a neighborhood bodega up there, from water and beer to fruit and chips and guac and muffins and…

IMG_3708And books. Like this much-loved copy of Stephen King’s It, dating back to when its reader (It‘s reader) was just 12 years old.

IMG_3851On the other end of the spectrum, our friends at Hard Case Crime gave us an early look at Understudy For Death, which isn’t going to be in stores for another month!

IMG_3593And when we weren’t reading or noshing,

IMG_3716IMG_3889IMG_3881We hung out and chatted–

IMG_3441And cooled down in the outdoor shower–

IMG_3439And napped–

IMG_3321And hydrated–

IMG_3517IMG_3401And shot selfies, with and without the church in the background–

IMG_3514IMG_3447And got a teeny, tiny bit of exercise running from one part of the deck to the other.

IMG_3661IMG_3662IMG_3664We modeled outfits and jewelry–

IMG_3821IMG_3873IMG_4010–and heart-shaped linzer cookies.

IMG_3428As you can see, not everyone went fully nude; no one has to. It’s just really nice to have that option.

IMG_4005IMG_3609IMG_3351IMG_3927Yes, there were a few penises out in the sun too. They deserve Vitamin D as much as vulvas do. (Vulvae? Sure, if you want to be all linguistically correct about it. Which of course we do.)

IMG_3777In short, we had a wonderful time. And until this particular sort of wonderful time is allowed in the middle of Central Park, we’ll continue enjoying it in our little rooftop sanctuary.

Would you like to join us next time? Or for our next topless visit to one of the city’s parks, for that matter? Either way, drop us an email — toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com. We’d love to hear from you, and perhaps to induct you into our sun-swept sorority for the summer. IMG_3573IMG_3649

 

IMG_2297So, we got this email.

It was from a fan of our group who lives in Ireland. She’d read about us online some years ago and had been excited ever since about what we do. “Coming from a country that’s FINALLY started controlling women’s bodies just a little bit less,” she wrote, “I can’t imagine anything happening like this in Ireland.” She was only going to be in New York for a few days, but did we have a meet-up planned that she could join?

IMG_2288Well, we didn’t — but the weather was looking cooperative, and we can’t say no to a fan who’s been waiting years to meet us, so we made a snap decision to see if one or two of us might be free on short notice to meet in Bryant Park, behind the main branch of the New York Public Library. And then…

We got this other email.

IMG_2397This one wasn’t from overseas, but it was still from pretty far away, in the heart of the great American midwest, from a woman who wrote, “I am a nudist (and English major, so I love books!) who is in town for a few days with my boyfriend, also a nudist. When I Googled nudist activities in New York you guys came up.” Did we have a meet-up planned on Wednesday that she could join…?

IMG_2355Well, yes. As it just so happens, we did, thanks to our new friend from Ireland.

IMG_2312And so, what had started out as a tiny, last-minute thing turned into a proper event with more than half a dozen of us lying out on the lawn, relaxing blissfully top-free in the mid-afternoon sun, celebrating freedom and international comity. (Or is it amity? Harmony? We leave it to you and your thesaurus to decide.)

IMG_2480IMG_2494IMG_2503We shared sunscreen…

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IMG_2350…and showed off our ink. (One of us even bore the Dark Mark! Go, Slytherin!)

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IMG_2455We shared towels and reading material, and we broke bread.

IMG_2264And when the time came to call it an afternoon, it was like old friends saying goodbye.

IMG_2513If you’re from far away but plan to be in New York sometime this summer, let us know. We can’t promise to get something up on short notice every time (so the more notice you can give us, the better), but we love to meet women from other parts of the country and other parts of the world who share our outlook on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Just email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and let us know when you’re going to be in town.

And if you’re a New Yorker? Why, that just makes everything even easier.

Get in touch.

Wherever you’re from, far or near, we’ll be bosom buddies before long.

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