Each year around this time of year, with the city’s colleges and private schools out for the summer and public schools about to be, we like to hold a picnic in one of Central Park’s quieter spots for students and recent graduates, to celebrate several things: the end of another school year; the fact that in New York it is legal for women to go topless anywhere a man can; and the fact that this equal right applies equally to all women, regardless of age, race, background, body type, sexuality or any other attribute.

Why is this last point important? Well, in terms of age, we’ve found that girls and young women often feel uncertain whether the law really applies to them, and this lack of certainty and lack of confidence too often leads them to curb their own exercise of the freedoms they’re entitled to. No young man, having just finished a year of high school, would ever question whether he’s entitled to take his shirt off for a game of frisbee in the park — but ask his twin sister if she’s got the same right and you’re likely to get a different answer.

In terms of race, women of color often (and understandably) are uncertain that they’ll be treated with as much tolerance as white women — by either random passerby or the police — if they choose to go topless in a public place. And queer women sometimes worry that, if they are perceived as such. their rights might not be respected as much as those of their cishet sisters.

And of course the intersection of two or more of those identities can lead to higher anxiety still, and an even greater tendency toward self-policing.

So: our student picnic, where we specifically reach out to young women who might not otherwise even have heard of our group, and go out of our way to put together an event that’s diverse in as many dimensions as possible. It’s not “virtue signaling” — it’s a project to deliberately assemble a group large enough and diverse enough that everyone can feel comfortable within it, and then give first-timers who might never otherwise try outdoor toplessness a chance to do so. (It also doesn’t mean we don’t care about diversity the rest of the time — it’s always important to us. But we think it’s good also to make a special extra effort from time to time.)

We also invite some of our longtime members, to act as guides and ease the newcomers’ transition into the world of body comfort.

To jump to the happy ending: this year again, as in all previous years we’ve been doing this, we had a wonderful time. None of the random passerby who wandered through the glade we quietly took over gave us more than a passing glance, no one complained, and no one was made to feel uncomfortable. As for our new members themselves, everyone was friendly and warm and open, and by the end of the event, everyone was gladly exchanging contact info and pledging to stay in touch.

Some were so comfortable, they left the park with their breasts uncovered, relishing their new freedom.

As one new member told us after, “It was my first time and it felt very normal to just be outdoors with bare skin. I was surprisingly very comfortable and I hope to muster up the courage to do this more often when I’m alone in public.”

Alone is tougher, of course — people are more likely to give a hard time to a woman who’s by herself than a group of ten or twenty women. There is safety in numbers, and strength, and solidarity. But alone or in groups, we are so glad to see that more women are discovering the pleasure of what we do and mustering the courage to do it themselves.

So…how about you? Would you like to try it sometime? If you’ve been curious or tempted, even if you were also unsure or nervous, please take a moment and email us. We’re at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com. We’ll find the event — small or large, more private or more public, only topless or fully nude — that’s right for you.

Now is the time, while it’s warm out and while a little voice inside is saying, “You can do that too.” You can. It’s your right. Let us help you discover it.

We recently launched an Instagram account (@ToplessPulp, for any of you who’d like to check it out), and the result has been staggering in terms of hearing from dozens and dozens of women who never knew about us before and are telling us they would like to take part in what we do.

One woman told us the story of how she recently went topless outdoors for the first time, on the roof of her building in Brooklyn, not even 100% sure whether what she was doing was legal, but hugely enjoying the feeling of freedom and comfort. She even wrote a note to her mother about the experience — but when she tried to post on her own Instagram page photos of that note plus the selfie you see above, the post was deleted because Instagram (like Facebook, their corporate owner) still forbids the exposure of female nipples.

So we stepped in and promised her we would publish her deleted post here, on our blog, which as of today has been viewed nearly 25 million times by people all over the world — giving her a far larger audience than would ever have seen the post on Instagram. We are doing this because we believe her experience is worth sharing. It touched us, and we think it will touch you too.

Mom (she writes) did you ever go topless in public? I’m suddenly so unsure of what opinion you’d have on freeing the nipple? I feel that if I ask sincerely and without laughing it off, I can’t picture why you could sensibly say no. And because I view you as sensible and probably right, it’s blowing my mind.

I’ve always been pro Free the Nipple on a subconscious and political level, but felt as if I couldn’t truly promote it because of family, and a certain level of appropriateness. Did I make that level up? Did you and Dad?

Or maybe you truly think it’s not right for us to be shirtless on hot days, It’s not illegal. I know it seems an insignificant issue and that many women might never choose to go topless anyway. But it’s just a thread unravelling from a whole rule book of life. Do we see the same rules?

Love you.

That’s a fine description of the mission we’ve taken on in this group and have carried out for the past eight years: unravelling threads from a rule book that no longer makes sense (let’s be honest, it never did). We’re talking about the “rule book of life” that said women are second-class citizens, with bodies that are inherently sexual and need to be covered up and hidden away at all times (even as men are allowed to walk around half-naked without anyone worrying about their inflaming lust or offending sensibilities). The rule book that said it’s okay for men to have rights that are denied to women, that it’s okay to allow men to enjoy comfort while requiring women to endure discomfort. Well, those are yesterday’s rules. Our mothers’ and fathers’ rules, not our rules. Today, we can go topless on our rooftop — or in the park, or in the streets. It’s a small thing, but it symbolizes something much larger.

It feels like, by launching our Instagram account, we’ve opened a floodgate, and we are so very glad we did. We look forward to welcoming our enthusiastic new members to our upcoming events — and to the liberated future we are all going to build together.

Would you like to join us too? It’s simple — just email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com…or message us on Insta. You have nothing to lose but your bra. šŸ™‚

Mostly when we hold our topless events it’s in a park — Central Park, Washington Square Park, what-have-you. Lacking private back yards, parks are where New Yorkers go when they want to get a little sun, and seeing someone less than fully dressed in the park isn’t so very unusual.

But what about traveling to and from the park? Most of us choose to wait until we’re on the grass and surrounded by trees before taking our tops off. But not all. And we want to salute those of our members who are bold enough to take this extra step in the direction of feeling comfortable outdoors in our freedom-loving city.

If men can go top-free on the city streets (and they can, and they do — you see plenty of shirtless male joggers this time of year), women should be able to do it as well, free from shame or criticism.

And we’re very happy to report that women can. It takes a certain amount of confidence and DGAF — but if you’ve got those things, there’s no sidewalk you can’t proudly walk down, no intersection you can’t cross, with your shoulders back, your chin up, and your chest proudly bare.

Yes, even in the subway.

Want to try it? šŸ™‚ Write to us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com — we’ll find the event that’s right for you.

We meet outdoors all summer long, and though the summer doesn’t actually start on Memorial Day, people tend to think of that long weekend as the proper start of the summer season.

Meaning: time for fresh fruit, cool beverages…

…good books, and lying in the sun.

Sometimes we do it with a whole crowd of friends, sometimes just a few of us. (And sometimes we meet new friends, like these lovely butterflies.)

But another new decoration on our favorite rooftop sundeck, all bright in her red, white, and blue finery, reminds us that Memorial Day marks endings as well as beginnings. Dating back to 1800s, the holiday was created to memorialize soldiers who died defending the country — and while we might not be the flag-waving type most of the time, we do appreciate the freedoms we have. Including the freedom to read and write what we wish, the freedom of assembly, and yes, the freedom to go topless in public places if we wish. That last one might seem frivolous, but it isn’t really. It’s all of a piece. It’s life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, right? Well, this is how we pursue happiness.

Freedom means freedom. And you’ll never feel quite so free — so liberated — as when you take off your clothes on a beautiful day and let the sun bathe your bare skin.

Won’t you join us? All freedom-loving, body-positive women are welcome. Just email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com — we’ll find a time and a place for you to pursue happiness with us.

It was warm, finally. It was sunny. It wasn’t summer, technically. But after a long — too long! — winter and a cold — too cold! — spring, we can be forgiven for calling the first truly warm and sunny day of the year the start of summer.

It’s our ninth year of meeting outdoors in New York City’s parks and plazas, celebrating the fact that in New York it’s legal for women to be naked from the waist up anywhere it’s legal for a man to do the same thing. This seems like such an obvious concept that it’s inconceivable to us that anyone could disagree with it — but we know that in most parts of this country and in most parts of the world, doing what we do could get a woman arrested, or worse.

But not in New York. Since 1992, it’s been legal, and since 2011 we’ve met well over 100 times, all over the city, with hundreds of women taking part in our events, all to spread the word that it’s not only legal but safe and sane and comfortable and fun and healthy and liberating and…human. Who wouldn’t relish the warmth of the sun on her skin? And why should half the human race be denied that simple pleasure?

To kick off our 9th season, we met in Washington Square Park, one of the most laid-back spots even in this very liberal city. Spring was in the air. Young lovers were kissing, babies were playing drums —

— and we were there too, nearly 20 of us, laying out our towels, our snacks, our reading material. Roughly half the people who came this time were first-timers, which is always wonderful.

There were two pairs of sisters in attendance —

— and friends brought friends.

Halfway through the event, we were joined by two women from Houston who saw what we were doing and asked if they could be part of it. Of course, we said: the more the merrier. And sure enough, they made us merrier.

What did we read? There was Joan Didion and Michael Moorcock, Donald Westlake and Stephen King.

And there was Batman.

There were also strawberries and dried apples.

There was sunscreen, never fear. (Some of you always express concern about this. It’s okay. We know how to take care of ourselves. Really we do.)

There was an honest-to-god rainbow — our very own private rainbow!

And there was great conversation, ranging from nipple piercing experiences to how lovely it was that more than a dozen women could lie topless in the grass in the middle of a city park and not attract a single leer or nasty comment or complaint.

One of our participants wrote afterwards, “That was my first time ever going topless in public and the experience was…very liberating. I didn’t expect that most people would be completely unfazed by us, but then again, NYC is a place of much spectacle, so I’m not that surprised. This is definitely something I would take part in again.”

Another wrote, “My experience at your event was amazing! I was nervous at first. I realized, although the idea of going topless in public didn’t faze me, Iā€™d never actually done it! Once I talked with the other participants, I felt completely at ease. Being topless in the sun felt natural! And it is most definitely an unexplored woman’s right. I applaud the brave and welcoming community you’ve created. In fear of male gaze, I would’ve never dared to do this alone. Afterwards, I felt accomplished, proud, and free.”

A third had this to say: “I was shocked by how relaxing this afternoonā€™s event was and how much I gained from the experience. I was happy to see other women (not to mention possibly trans/non identifying folks) show up and just get topless. I think I was a little nervous in the beginning but that feeling quickly dissolved and I just stopped caring after like 10 minutes. Everyone was friendly and the environment worked well because the vibe is pretty liberating in Washington Square Park.”

This has been our experience over and over and over again — a lot of people are nervous to try it, but when you do try it, you discover almost instantly just now natural and normal and wonderful it feels, and you wonder why in the world you never did it before.

Would you like to try? We welcome all women, whether you’re nervous or bold, new to toplessness or an old hand at it. Just email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and we’ll be glad to answer your questions and find an event that’s right for you.

Don’t let another summer pass you by! it’s your right and your privilege — and it would be our privilege to share the experience with you.

We’re still waiting for properly warm weather to land in New York for more than an hour or two at a time — it will, we know it will, but it hasn’t, and we’re getting tired of waiting for it.

One of our members got so tired of waiting she flew off to the Riviera Maya, from whose sunlit shores she sent these two photos, just to make the rest of us jealous.

It worked.

But next week it’s supposed to get up into the high 70s here! So hope is not the only thing springing eternal — spring should finally be springing too.

Want to join us in turning New York City into, if not a tropical paradise, at least a topless one? Email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com. All body-positive women welcome. Let’s show the world you don’t have to fly thousands of miles from home to enjoy freedom under the sun. šŸ™‚

So here it is, April at last, spring at last, still in the 40s, and we don’t mean celsius, but with the occasional balmier afternoon, the occasional patch of sunlight that warms you like a memory of summer; and you know us, we jump on that like kittens on a plump sofa cushion. The first daffodils of the season are out, and the first cherry blossoms, and by god, so are we,

Central Park is starting to turn green, the trampled soil cautiously putting out its first grassy feelers. And with the return of the grass come some of the park’s more curious denizens: the bagpiper, with his mournful tunes; the t-shirted LARPers, Game of Thronesing it up with a pair of foam swords apiece; and the hopeful sunbathers, trying by sheer force of will to make the thermometer read 70. We had no bagpipe, no foam swords. But force of will? We’ve got that to burn.

We visited our old friends, the flowers–

–and the statues by the Columbus Circle fountain.

We dined on french fries from Landmarc across the way–

–and read books by Stephen King.

For no particular reason, we fooled around with a shiny bit of mylar that caught our eyes as it glittered in the foliage.

But mostly we just reveled in the feeling that spring was finally on her way and that life was returning with her. Soon it will be properly warm, and shedding our jackets and shirts won’t require any bravery of a temperature-related variety. And we want to remind our female readers that it shouldn’t require any bravery of any other variety either — men take their tops off in the sun all the time, and it’s every woman’s legal right (in New York, at least) to do the same thing.

Would you like to join us sometime? Especially if it’s your first time exercising your equal rights, doing it with other people might be more comfortable. We welcome first timers and old hands, the eager and the nervous alike. (Trust us, we’re not all equally bold. But we do all like to feel the sun on our chest.)

If you’re an open-minded, body-positive woman, we’d love to hear from you — email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and we’ll find the sunny spot, and the taste of freedom, that’s right for you.