After our rooftop adventure (chronicled previously), we headed down with our new friend from the New York Times to the streets of Brooklyn and the grassy lawns of Prospect Park.
At first, no one seemed to take notice of us — so much so that our reporter friend commented on it, amazed that the presence of half a dozen women relaxing topless in a public space attracted not a single stare or rude comment. But like most things that seem too good to be true, it was: after perhaps half an hour, a police car cruised slowly to a stop alongside us and the officers inside sheepishly indicated they’d received several calls to 911 complaining of our presence. Because, you know. Breasts. Clearly they require armed men in uniform to subdue.
What were we doing to deserve the attention of the police? Sitting; reading; talking; eating chocolate. All while failing to conceal our nipples. While on the next lawn over, mind you, this was going on:
Yes, a bare chest! But a bare male chest. No one called 911 about him. But two or more people thought it was a good use of the city’s emergency system to report us. It’s heartbreaking, in a way. That in 2015…in Brooklyn, New York, of all places…anyone could be so afraid of women’s bodies that they’d think calling the police is the proper response.
Fortunately, these particular policemen were well trained, acknowledged that what we were doing was perfectly legal, and wearily rolled on. We bear them no ill will — they have to investigate complaints. But the people who called them…for them we have nothing but pity. Well, pity and scorn. But pity sounds so much more polite.
Ah, well. We didn’t let it ruin our afternoon. And perhaps it gave a keener edge to the interviews we gave the Times, which you should be able to see on their site in another week or two. It’s easy to forget sometimes that a lot of people not only don’t know that it’s legal for women to go topless in New York but don’t think it should be.
Unfortunately, this seems to include the mayor. And he really, really, really should know better.
But mayors come and go.
Breasts are forever.