Archives for category: 2019

After our mammoth odyssey in lower Manhattan, it was nice to hold our next gathering somewhere serene and private — the rooftop sundeck we return to each summer to recharge our batteries (solar batteries, of course).

Yes, we love challenging convention and expectations by going topless in public spaces; it’s fun and we feel it’s important, standing up for equal rights and taking steps toward desexualizing the female body. But it’s also nice to spend an afternoon once in a while with no random onlookers around expressing their surprise, dismay or delight. And it’s even nicer to get to enjoy the sun with no swimsuit on at all!

So we headed back to our sundeck (it really does feel like our sundeck at this point — we’ve been going there for eight summers!) and spread out on towels and blankets…

…and couches and lounge chairs…

…and in the inflatable pool we keep for especially hot days.

Our ranks were bolstered by several very enthusiastic first-timers–

–as well as equally enthusiastic returning friends. (More than just friends. Once you’ve spent an afternoon naked with someone, they’re family.)

Our family included all ages, all races, all body types, but with one thing in common: respect for each other. Kindess. And if that seems like two things to you, well, okay, but we think they go hand in hand.

Books on hand this time ranged from epic fantasy–

–to hardboiled crime–

–to modern YA classics.

Food included mac and cheese, decadent Doughnut Plant doughnuts, and a tasty blueberry ale. (Never fear, we didn’t let our underage members drink any!)

And we spent a good portion of our time plotting and planning exciting events to come. For instance, we decided that day to do a topless dinner at a restaurant we’d been to once before, three years earlier — and a few days later, we did just that (as you’ll see in a future blog post, we promise!). And we planned a beach trip that’s scheduled for just a few hours from now.

But mostly we just relaxed in peace and harmony and soaked up that respect and kindness, which warmed us not one iota less than the sun’s mighty rays.

Why can’t all days be like this? Why can’t all people?

Well, we’re grateful at least that some days can be — and some people — and that our lives contain a good number of both.

If your life has been feeling deficient in these things — naked time, kindness, respect — we would love for you to join us and share ours. All women are welcome, whether you’ve ever done anything like this before or not. Just email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com or message us at @ToplessPulp on Instagram or Twitter. We’ll keep a spot warm for you.

After meeting in 14th Street Park to prepare ourselves for our High Line adventure, and then heading up to the High Line itself for our mile-long stroll, topless, through a crowd of thousands of tourists and locals who possibly might not have been expecting to see a group of bare-chested women in their midst, we exited the High Line at its 34th Street terminus, elated and slightly exhuasted and many blocks from the nearest subway.

Did we put our shirts on for the last leg of our journey? We did not. It just felt too good, too healthy, too natural, to remain topless as we made our way through the city’s summer streets. Who needs another layer of fabric getting between her skin and the cooling breeze? Not us. So, fortified with a refreshing popsicle or two, off we went.

The east-west blocks between the river and midtown are long ones, and we got some looks as we crossed them. One or two odd remarks (“Get in,” said a man in a car. Did he really think we would?), one or two startled ejaculations (in the classical Arthur Conan Doyle sense of the word — “My dear Holmes!” I ejaculated), but overall nothing too untoward or troubling. We passed more than one male jogger wearing as little as we were, and by and large we got nearly as little attention as he did.

Eventually we got to the subway, where one of us got dressed for the trip home–

–and the other two just headed down to complete the trip as we were.

Having gotten out at Columbus Circle, we ended with a brief sit beneath a tree in nearby Central Park.

What lesson do we take away from this wonderful multi-stage experience? That female toplessness has been normalized sufficiently, at least in New York City, that not only can a group of more than a dozen topless women relax without causing a stir in a quiet park but even just two or three topless women can walk through other sorts of public spaces without giving rise to offense or distress — that of others or our own.

Also, that it is physically pleasurable, emotionally satisfying, and psychically healing to go bare-breasted outdoors, both because it is an assertion of equal rights — you can do this thing, and so can I — and because the simple sensation of it is delightful. (Maybe not quite so delightful in the subway. Nothing is as delightful there. But even there, it’s sort of fun.)

Would you like to join us sometime? Maybe not in the subway — that’s some advanced urban toplessness, for sure. But somewhere, sometime. Whether that’s on a grassy lawn in the park or a lounge chair on our favorite rooftop sundeck or wherever appeals to you most, if you’re a woman in the New York area and at all curious about what we do, we’d love for you to join us. Send us email (toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com), or message us on Insta or Twitter (@ToplessPulp), and we promise — we’ll find an event that’s right for you.

Yesterday you read about how our group gathered on a lawn across from the High Line before heading up for our walk along the elevated park.

Hanging out in 14th Street Park is very different from walking the High Line — one is a quiet, serene, nearly empty patch of green in the middle of the city, a little urban oasis; the other is a tourist mecca, a narrow, constructed space with literally thousands of people walking through it at any given time. It’s a different sort of experience (motion rather than stillness, sound rather than silence, lots of contact with strangers rather than next to none), and not everyone in our group was up for braving it. So as we went from the park to the street outside…

…and from the street up onto the High Line itself–

Some of our members peeled off, leaving only a core group to walk the walk.

What is the High Line? It used to be a set of elevated train tracks used by freight trains to get goods to and from the Meatpacking District back when meat was actually packed there. Abandoned for years, the tracks got resurrected as a park by some urban developers who realized they could be made unique and gorgeous and turned into a site for pleasant strolls and sun-swept relaxation. And you know how we love our relaxation.

So we’ve been coming to the High Line from our group’s earliest days, before the whole thing was even done being rebuilt. One of our photos from those days was even chosen by the High Line for inclusion in the fancy coffee table art book they put out to celebrate their creation:

Now the rebuilding is done, and the High Line offers a delicious variety of intriguing and photogenic spaces.

Open stretches and covered ones —

Scenic overlooks —

Spots graced by views of the city’s newest grand public sculpture —

Speaking of which, it’s possible to accidentally walk off the High Line (a public park) and onto a private plaza owned and run by the new Hudson Yards property barons. We know it’s possible because we did it! And got politely (well, sort of politely) ushered back off the private plaza by a security guard who kept trying to get us to be sympathetic to him. (He seemed to think if he didn’t chase us off it would cost him his job. Who knows? Maybe that’s even true.)

But the High Line itself is public and public in the very best way — meaning free for anyone to walk any time, with or without a shirt on, whether you’re a woman or a man. We were thrilled to visit our old haunt again and to feel as welcome as ever.

What came next? Well after the heat of the day and the effort of the walk, we were ready for something cool. Fortunately, there was an ice cream truck waiting at the exit — run by a wonderful woman from Greece, no stranger to topless sunbathing herself. 🙂

From there we had another long walk before us — at street level this time, from the far west side to midtown, where we could hop a subway. How did that stroll differ from our walk on the High Line? Find out in Part III of our report — coming later this week.

We’ve been visiting the High Line before the High Line was even finished being built.

This year was the first time we got to see the whole thing, all the way to the endpoint on West 34th Street, capped by that grand new work of public sculpture nicknamed (actually named?) “The Vessel.”

It was quite an adventure, and we’re going to write about it in three separate posts this week, to give you a feeling for the whole afternoon. Which began with us gathering near the entrance to the High Line at 14th Street and Tenth Avenue, where there’s a convenient little park called (uncreatively enough) “14th Street Park.”

It’s barely a park at all, really. One square block of concrete paving with a single circular grassy hillock in the center. (Does it even count as a hillock? It barely rises at all in the center. Really it’s just a flat grassy circle. Is it even a circle or an ellipse? These are the questions we wonder about. We read a lot, and we like getting these things right.)

Anyway, we gathered, and we did it on the grass in 14th Street Park. First just a couple of us, then a handful, then a gaggle, then a pack.

Well, what group noun would you use for a group of topless women? It’s a “dazzle” of zebras, which doesn’t seem fair somehow — why can’t we have that one? A “convocation” of eagles, a “parliament” of owls, a “quiver” of cobras. A “murmuration” of starlings. Well, we murmured, we convoked. We probably quivered a bit. We like to think maybe we dazzled. But mostly we just relaxed, enjoying the sun and the breeze and each others’ excellent company.

That’s it — a “relaxation” of topless women.

Our relaxation held onto the park long enough that total strangers around us took notice and found enough comfort or curiosity to join in. This woman from Atlanta by way of Texas walked up to us, asked a few questions, and before long was sitting in our circle, and before much longer had her breasts bared in solidarity and joy.

Two women from Colombia went topless but stayed face down or held their shirts over their chests, saying they worked nearby and didn’t want to chance their employers seeing them out the window of their office building. Fair enough. But they took our info and promised to go properly top-free when we next meet in some other neighborhood. And another woman went down to just the thongiest of thongs. We felt our influence was doing some good.

Our meet-up included some first-timers, most of whom discovered us over Instagram. (In the last month alone 564 women in NYC have told us over Insta that they’d like to join us! We welcome every last one.)

We also had some second- and third-timers from events earlier this summer–

–and some old friends, back again from earlier High Line visits.

While waiting for all these folks to show up, we had books to occupy us…

…and snacks (these chips are made of chicken — no, really)–

…and just getting to know each other (we did the summer camp thing of going around a circle saying our names and where we’re from and was this our first time, etc.).

And when that ran out of steam, we got ourselves up off the grass,

headed toward the exit,

and out onto the street.

What came next? The High Line, of course — and you’ll see more of that tomorrow.

Meanwhile, if you’re a woman in NYC and think what you see in these photos looks like fun? Drop us a note. It’s easy: toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com.

You’ll be part of our relaxation in no time.

There are many parks in New York City, many even just in Manhattan, and even after eight years we haven’t been to every single one. So why do we have some spots we come back to again and again?

Because they’re special. This one was special to no less a New York City luminary than Edgar Allan Poe, who lived a few blocks away, christened the spot after his landlord’s son (or so the story goes), and came here to meditate and write his poetry. What obscure poem did he work on here? We won’t give it away, but it starts, “Once upon a midnight dreary…”

How did this location inspire a classic of gothic melancholy? You’ve got us. There’s nothing dreary about the spot, with its giant boulder, its lush foliage, its towering trees, and its views of nearby hills and paths. The Hudson River flows nearby, as does the majestic West Side Highway. (Poe missed out on the latter.)

And better than all the rest is the privacy the boulder affords, once you’ve climbed to the crest. There’s room enough for two dozen people to set out towels and take off their clothing, and as long as you’re sitting down, no one lower down in the park can see you. As a location for people coming to one of our events — and maybe also to outdoor toplessness — for the first time, it’s pretty much ideal.

So it won’t surprise you to learn that many of the people we invited this time were first-timers —

— though there were some second-timers as well, returning after enjoying our visit to Summit Rock a week or two earlier.

(Interestingly, there’s no rock at Summit Rock. At least not like there is here. See what happens when you get anyone less than an immortal poet to name locations in your park for you?)

We discovered all sorts of interesting coincidences as our new members met and made friends. Vegans met vegans, chefs met chefs, a couple of doctors met an aspiring medical student. But there was also diversity of every variety, across the spectrums of gender and age and race and body type.

We had tasty snacks and beverages —

–read everything from a weighty photo history on street art to 1984 to Joyce Carol Oates’ psychedelic riff on the Charles Manson murders, The Triumph of the Spider Monkey

–and we napped,

–and chatted,

–and smiled,

–and everyone treated everyone else with kindness, patience, respect, enthusiasm, and warmth.

Why can’t every group of people be like this? We come from all sorts of different backgrounds, different neighborhoods, different countries of origin sometimes, and yet somehow we are able to be good to each other, to be humane. To be, in a word (and notwithstanding our partial nudity), decent. It’s not hard. In fact, it feels like the easiest thing in the world. And if two dozen people who start out as total strangers to one another can do it, who says two million people can’t? Or two hundred million?

Well, one step at a time. First you climb a hill, then a boulder, then a mountain.

Would you like to join us on our quest? Show the world what freedom looks like, what equality looks like — what decency looks like — and enjoy some great times doing it? We’d love to hear from you. Email toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com or message us on Insta or Twitter at @ToplessPulp.

Because we know you rock, too.

One thing none of our regular outdoor events offer is a chance to get wet. Manhattan might be an island, but that island has no beaches, and public pools are few and not nude-friendly. Yes, we can spend an hour on the subway and go to Coney Island (or two hours on a bus to get to Gunnison Beach in New Jersey), but sometimes you just want a dip in a pool closer by.

Our solution: a handy inflatable we keep tucked away in a storage closet on our favorite rooftop sundeck.

The sundeck is private property and clothing optional, so even without the pool there it’s a little bit of Eden in our urban existence. We can relax without any worry about bothering (or being bothered by) random onlookers.

With some snacks and books on hand,

and a couple of giant umbrellas for shade

it’s pretty heavenly.

But blow up the pool and add water? That takes things to a whole nother level.

At our most recent event, we were joined by several first-timers who’d discovered us via Instagram,

as well as some dear friends of long standing.

One of the nicest things was hearing from the first-timers afterwards. “We had such a truly lovely time meeting and spending time with all of you,” one wrote. “We didn’t know what to expect before we came,” said another, “and it was completely comfortable and friendly and felt wonderful.”

That’s what we love to hear.

Our next rooftop event is coming up soon — if you’d like to hear about others and maybe come to one yourself, we welcome all body-positive women who are game to give it a try. Just email toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com or message us at @ToplessPulp on Insta.

After all — who said nude sunbathing is only for the French Riviera?

Mostly when we meet in one of New York City’s parks we keep to the ground. But the last time we visited Central Park, there was a tree we found simply irresistible.

First, one of our organizers found her way onto its branches–

–and then several of our first-timers followed suit.

And at least one made it into the upper branches.

All this was good practice for the event we held a week later, which was on the top of a giant boulder in Riverside Park! But those photos are for another day. (Well, okay, here’s just one, to give you a taste:

For now, we’ll remember fondly our afternoon of climbing a more organic surface — and greeting this venerable tree’s bare limbs and trunk with our own.