Archives for category: 2014

IMG_7913So, a dip in a rooftop pool is one of the great ways to cool down on a hot late-summer day…but it’s not the only way, as one of our members who works as a bartender downtown demonstrated with great proficiency the other day.

IMG_8005We brought the ingredients for margaritas, mojitos, mimosas and cosmos, while she brought the tools of the trade: shaker; strainer; muddler that could double as a fierce butt plug. Corks were popped, screwtops screwed, limes halved, jalapenos quartered, ice smashed against the wooden floor. Drinks were sampled and spilled, spills were licked up. Fresh mint leaves got muddled, and so, by god, did we.

IMG_8034IMG_8044IMG_8065

Did we get any reading done? We did, until the pages started to blur.

IMG_7981IMG_8018After that it was all conversation, some of it about the waning of the season and what we would do to keep the group together over the colder months to come. We have Ideas. Some big ones, some small ones, but no shortage of plans; now it’s just a matter of figuring out which and when and how and who.

But first we plan to drink summer to the lees, much the same as we drank our delicious selection of what Alex Trebek would call Potent Potables. In the altogether because, naked cocktails. Just as lovely as naked reading. And it’s another thing you can’t do in the middle of Central Park. Yet.

IMG_8060IMG_8033IMG_7986IMG_8008IMG_8066IMG_7916IMG_7954IMG_7917IMG_8079Oh — and just to wrap up the rooftop report, here are a few pics we’d planned to include last time but didn’t find room for. Say hello to two of our newest members and one of our oldest, back again after more than a year away. And two of our most steadfast, too, just because, well, we love them. 🙂

IMG_7541cIMG_7626cIMG_7658IMG_7559IMG_7616

IMG_7707We had a notion that some hotel in New York City — where after all it is legal for women to go topless anywhere a man can, and has been legal for more than 20 years — might be willing to let us use their rooftop swimming pool sometime, side by side with all their topless male guests. We offered to rent hotel rooms so we’d be guests too. But no: they were all terrified to allow bare-chested women on the same roof as bare-chested men.

“This group seems incredible – and very fun!” wrote a representative of the Empire Hotel. But: “Because this is a private space (with food and families) – we require our guests to wear tops. So I am not sure that we would be the best fit for you. Thank you for understanding.” Yes, of course we understand: food, after all. Our bare breasts (unlike men’s bare breasts) will tend to cause milk to sour and meat to spoil and other food to go bad in other mysterious ways. And families! Individual, separate men, women and children can bear exposure to female mammary tissue, but a family, no, a family will explode like popcorn on a hot stove if you wave a nipple in its direction. A woman’s nipple, that is. A man’s nipple, no problem. (True, he wrote “we require our guests to wear tops,” not distinguishing between women and men — but we have a feeling he meant they require this of their female guests. If they required it of their male guests as well it would be a rare swimming pool indeed.)

Jenny Morales of the Gansevoort Hotel wrote, “You’re more than welcome to join us as hotel guests and access the pool, however being that this is family friendly hotel, going topless would not be an option.” Oh, don’t we know it! We have tried and tried to train our breasts not to be so unfriendly to families, but they’re just incorrigible.

Nicolas Oliveira of the Hotel Americano wrote, “We are supporters when it comes to topless sunbathing and as you said, our Hotel does have international flavor. We choose to be neutral at our pool since at the end of the day we are a Hotel and we need to cater to Hotel Guests first. We do not believe that it will have a negative reaction when it comes to our Hotel Guests, but we also do not want to risk anything because we are a Hotel and our guests are our biggest supporters.” We are still trying to untangle that one. But it sounds like “We choose to be neutral at our pool” means “Please, please, please don’t come.”

Well, Nicolas and Jenny and Unnamed Representative — so be it. Your pools, your rules. But it’s a pity that none of you are willing to stand up to mindless conservatism, to fear and shame. Because what terrible thing are we really talking about here? A dozen happy women enjoying the sun with a little less rather than a little more fabric on. Relaxing, reading, tanning — nothing more, nothing worse. Unless you’re all secretly in the fabric industry and afraid your swimsuit concessions will plunge in value, we really can’t comprehend the danger we represent. Just take a look at these photos and tell us — would this really have hurt you so badly? So badly that you were willing to turn away hundreds of dollars in revenue — maybe hundreds per person — just to keep it from happening…?

IMG_7568IMG_7574IMG_7578IMG_7588IMG_7593IMG_7604

And to the enlightened folk at the Colonial Park Inn (where all these photos were taken, after we gave up on our search for a real pool we could use) we say: thank you. We always feel welcome with you. Your pool may be small, and it may be inflatable, and it may not allow us to swim laps or practice the back float, but at least we can ditch the swimsuits. Which is the best way to enjoy a pool.

And get this, you’re not only comfortable with breasts, you’re even okay with vaginas! And penises!

God bless you, Colonial House. God bless you.

IMG_7700IMG_7708IMG_7732IMG_7721IMG_7727

 

IMG_7436Who says summer is packed and on its way to the Departures gate? Not us, not after spending an afternoon under the 90-degree sun in Central Park this past Wednesday. It was like an outdoor sauna, and just what we needed as a prophylactic against the end-of-summer blues.

We hit two spots in the park that we’d never been to before (and isn’t it wonderful that after four summers Central Park still has spots we haven’t been to?): the luxurious, edenic East Green…

IMG_7237IMG_7247
IMG_7192
IMG_7151IMG_7222IMG_7198IMG_7199

…and the blessedly private “Dene,” a little grassy nook up a flight of stone steps from the main body of the park, tucked away between giant boulders. Thank you, Olmsted and Vaux!

IMG_7381IMG_7398IMG_7318IMG_7403

There were 15 of us in all, though people came and went as the afternoon wore on. Reading material ranged from Italo Calvino’s If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler to a Preacher graphic novel

IMG_7423

to an advance copy of Naomi Novik’s amazing amazing amazing new fantasy novel, Uprooted.

IMG_7476

We had two documentary filmmakers with us, and two screenwriters, and one person just back from the Cannes Film Festival…so it was sort of a Hollywood-themed event, accidentally. But other luminaries from other fields included a professional dogwalker and a food-stylist in training. We contain multitudes. 🙂

And there’s still more to come. As always, if you’re interested in participating and are a body-positive New York woman (or planning a visit to NYC from somewhere else), drop us a note at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com — we’d love to hear from you.

IMG_7507IMG_7389IMG_7324IMG_7371IMG_7313IMG_7430IMG_7456IMG_7510

IMG_6828As promised, here we are on the grass in Washington Square Park before our recent adventure at Ayza Wine Bar; it was gorgeous and glorious. And we have more gatherings like it planned! Not just for later in August, either. We plan to keep meeting in September and beyond, as long as the weather holds up. Last year we were out on Halloween, and the year before that we even met once in December, it was so warm out.

If you’re a body-positive, book-loving New York woman who’d enjoy hanging out with other such, drop us an email at toplesspulpfiction[AT]gmail[DOT]com and we’ll get you onto our super-secret invite list. Don’t let the season pass you by without feeling the sun and the breeze on your bare breasts! It’s your right and your privilege, and you’ll kick yourself when down-parka weather returns…

IMG_6817IMG_6782IMG_6762IMG_6808IMG_6834OCTPFAS_080814-8165IMG_6820

 

OCTPFAS_080814-8299Last time we went to Bryant Park, it looked like it might rain. Pour, in fact. And when we thought we might get rained out, we quickly called around to some restaurants in the area to see if any of them would be willing to take in a wet and bedraggled topless book club for lunch. A decent enough fallback, we thought.

Well, in the end it didn’t rain, and if you scroll down far enough you can see how much fun we had outdoors in the park that day. (Even the arrival of a Fox News reporter wasn’t enough to ruin the afternoon.) But one of the restaurants that enthusiastically said they’d have welcomed us was Ayza Wine Bar.

IMG_7013

Well, not being ones to pass up a good thing, we kept in touch, and this past week we took them up on it, gathering first in nearby Washington Square Park (photos from that part of the day to follow) and then walking the six blocks south to Ayza’s downtown location.

And it was spectacular. Better than we could ever have expected. First of all, the staff was all welcoming and friendly and supportive and warm, and totally game to accommodate what had to be, for them, a rather unusual event. Second of all (though it hardly deserves to come anywhere but first on any list of good things), the food was absolutely delicious — spicy glazed chicken “lollipops,” savory dumplings, pizza spiked with black truffle, artichoke…and then the desserts started emerging, including chocolate truffles hand-delivered by charming waiters and chocolate fondue with all the trimmings.

IMG_6966IMG_6999OCTPFAS_080814-8456IMG_7110IMG_7051

Third of all (and it hardly deserves to come third), we had the benefits of a private setting (such as the freedom to get fully naked if we wanted, and a couple of us did) while the giant plate-glass windows enabled us to see the sun, and the world going by on the street outside. Could people see us too? Judging by the occasional startled facial expressions, some of them did, though when we sent ambassadors outside to try looking in, we mostly saw reflections. You had to be angled just right to get an eyeful. But some passers-by happened to look at the right moment, and the variety of reactions (confusion, delight, more confusion, stern tugging away of boyfriends by the sleeve) was fun to behold.

IMG_7030IMG_6909

To give just one example, this older woman came to the door to find out what was going on. “We’re the Outdoor Co-Ed Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society,” our emissary explained. “Well, I certainly appreciate it,” the visitor said with a big smile.

IMG_7102

The afternoon doubled as a birthday celebration for one of our two photographers, and one of the waiters (who got into the spirit of things by going shirtless himself) delivered some fireworks to her table.

IMG_7059

Did we get any reading in? Not a ton. But we did have several anthologies on hand from Rachel Kramer Bussel, and the editor herself there, joining in on the fun. Copies of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Hard Case Crime books also made an appearance.

IMG_7082IMG_7104OCTPFAS_080814-8505

But this time was really about the food and the company and the venue and hoping not to cause any traffic accidents as drivers spied something like 20 women (and a guy or two) in rather less clothing than you normally see in a restaurant.

Happily, we can report there were no six-car pileups.

And Ayza was tremendous. We’re going to return for sure, maybe when it’s freezing out. Imagine people passing by outside in down parkas, when snow is coming down, and glancing in the windows and seeing this…

IMG_7007IMG_6914IMG_7122OCTPFAS_080814-8370OCTPFAS_080814-8283IMG_7118IMG_7087IMG_6979OCTPFAS_080814-8310OCTPFAS_080814-8327OCTPFAS_080814-8280IMG_6939IMG_7067IMG_7071

IMG950323Our friend Cheyenne took a European journey for several weeks this summer — yachting in Sardinia, and so forth — but has finally returned to New York City. And like all things she does, she’s done it in style.

Welcome home, girl. We’ll so glad to have you back.

IMG956820IMG950286

 

2013-f1One of our regulars moved to Los Angeles last year; we still miss her every time we meet.

When she left, she took with her a roll of film she shot on our favorite rooftop sundeck, and with one thing and another, she never got around to developing the film. Until last week, that is. And she shared the photos with us, a tender and artistic look back at a summer of the past. We share them with you. A reminder, if you will, that the present summer will be a summer of the past not too long from now; that every day is yesterday soon than you might wish.

We’ve got plenty to look forward to, including a singularly exciting adventure coming up this Friday.

But for once, let’s look back.

2013-f22013-f42013-f32013-f52013-f6

20140729_162529Two of the international travelers in our group — one hailing from Australia, one commencing a research project in Saudi Arabia — are heading off next week. They’ll be back…New York has a siren song that calls its daughters home (especially ones who like to get naked in public and are spending an extended period in Saudi Arabia)…but not before this summer is a memory, so to celebrate their departure and see them off in style we gathered on our favorite rooftop sundeck and got naked in the fading rays of the late afternoon. Eight women and two men, a selection of scones and muffins, copies of Heidegger and Under the Dome, two classic film cameras and some cell phones for selfie-snapping…it was as fine an impromptu to-do as we’ve ever had, half Irish wake, half lazy cats lying contentedly in a patch of sun.

20140729_15395220140729_16134420140729_16542220140729_16141420140729_16525320140729_153934

Apologies to the two pairs of strangers who wandered onto the roof while we were there — an adorable couple of boys we peeked at through the shrubbery and then startled by saying hello; a mother and daughter who may not have been expecting the full-frontal view they got. But everyone was well behaved and took the sights in stride, confirming us in our suspicion that NYC is in some ways the most civilized spot in the world.

20140729_16372820140729_16383420140729_154615

Our thanks to the good souls at the Colonial House Inn for letting us indulge our inner nudists (and outer too, we suppose). Especially with a week of rain forecast and our numbers reduced by the departures, we are grateful for every moment in the sun.

20140729_17125720140729_16151420140729_17131120140729_16274620140729_163841

IMG_6493When we chose the location for this weekend’s get-together — the far west end of 55th Street, where a tree-shaded, grassy lawn slopes down to the edge of the Hudson River — we had no idea that we would be next door to the world’s largest convention of sneaker enthusiasts, “Sneaker Con.” But when we arrived, laden with books and towels and tasty things to eat, we found a line of people carrying cardboard shoeboxes and wearing the most striking footwear. What was at first a short queue soon snaked around the entire perimeter of the lawn, encircling us to the tune of at least two hundred eager souls — most of whom, for lack of anything better to do while waiting to be let in, seemed to be watching us and speculating on the question of who we were and why we had no shirts on.

IMG_6638IMG_6597

But — and this is why we love New York so — the speculation was good natured and polite, and aside from a very few nervous visits from inquisitive teenage boys, nominally asking us this or that but actually just angling for a close-up view, we were left to read in peace. (One of our number did comment at one point, “I think we’ve jump-started puberty for several people on line.” She wasn’t necessarily referring to the chronologically young, either.)

IMG_6461IMG_6415IMG_6433

Our attendees this time included two representatives of the Feminist Press, who came bearing gifts, samples of their line of female-authored pulp fiction, and a French journalist working on a magazine article about America’s top-freedom movement; all three cast inhibition aside and joined us in bare-breasted relaxation. Other attendees hailed from as far away as Australia, Israel, and Barcelona and as near as the Upper West Side. One of us had to leave halfway through for a dog-walking gig; one arrived late after a long evening bartending. We also had not one but two physicists and a brief discussion of molecular dynamics. Alongside our customary stash of pulp fiction (including, hot off the presses, a new paperback edition of Lawrence Block’s amazing A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES, basis for the forthcoming Liam Neeson movie), we read Sartre and BULLFINCH’S MYTHOLOGY. We ate chili-laced popcorn and coconut chips, fresh lychees and blueberries, petits fours from Maison Kayser, and some utterly delectable homemade tollhouse cookies. (One of our members brought her boyfriend, and her boyfriend brought the cookies. Good boyfriend.)

IMG_6491IMG_6587IMG_6527

At one point, one of us, demonstrating considerable dexterity and upper-body strength, clambered up the nearest tree and deposited herself in the crook of two branches and proceeded to read Truman Capote from her perch.

IMG_6644IMG_6654

At another point, we found ourselves discussing nipple piercings (one of us had just gotten hers done the day before).

IMG_6510

At yet another, we communed with the gaggle of geese that frequent the lawn.

IMG_6410

Was the afternoon perfect? Almost. It did drizzle at one point, and more substantial rain threatened. But we defied the threat and, improbably, the skies cleared. Neither we nor the geese were forced to fly, and our feathers remained blissfully unruffled.

IMG_6635IMG_6663IMG_6617IMG_6548IMG_6484IMG_6582

IMG_6715Today, thanks to Andy Golub, was New York City Bodypainting Day, a celebration of art and the  naked body. While normally only toplessness is legal on the streets of Manhattan, full nudity is legal if it’s in the service of an artistic production, and there’s no question that this gathering of a few dozen of the nation’s finest body painters was an artistic production. Working with a common color palette and a mandate to incorporate eyes into their designs, the painters attacked the problem with relish, producing human canvases that were imaginative and beautiful.

IMG_6701IMG_6688IMG_6751

And it was wonderful to see so many people boldly and proudly naked in the sun, on the street at the Columbus Circle entrance to Central Park. Spectators watched, remarkably politely, and the moral fabric of the city was not rent asunder despite the presence of dozens of bared penises, unclothed vaginas, and breasts of every shape, size, age and gender. (Not to mention the handling of same, in full view of onlookers of every shape, size, age and gender.)

IMG_6680IMG_6681IMG_6687IMG_6690

Which begs the question, of course, why it’s okay for people to see this once a year when paint is involved but the other 364 it’s grounds for arrest. But one step at a time.

IMG_6697IMG_6732IMG_6706IMG_6752IMG_6726IMG_6727