Archives for category: beach

The last time we visited Coney Island — three summers ago — we saw no one else going topless. Correction: no other women going topless. And the reception we got, while not unfriendly, was a bit…uncertain. We got looks, for sure. People didn’t know what to make of us, and didn’t seem entirely at ease with us doing what we were doing.

What a difference three years makes! While the beach still wasn’t filled with topless women the way a beach in Europe might be, we were not the only ones there by any means, and several others followed our lead when they saw us doing it.

In fact, shortly after we got there, a total stranger walked up to our group, asked if she could sit with us, remarked that she hated having to wear a top and promptly took hers off. Then she pulled a copy of Sappho from her bag and read us one of her favorite fragments. Thus are new friends made.

And we got no particular looks, from women or from men, even when we went onto the boardwalk to score a corn dog and a Pepsi. (Indeed, we saw another topless woman calmly eating her own unhealthy but delicious lunch at a nearby picnic table.)

How was it walking down to the water? Unremarkable — which is maybe the most remarkable thing of all. No double-takes, no second glances. At one point one of the beach’s lifeguards blew a whistle, but when our members went over to ask why, she just wanted to let them know that some stranger seemed to be taking photos of them. (“That’s not a stranger,” they reassured her. “We’re all together. We’re part of a group.”)

When we weren’t swimming we spent our time relaxing on the sand, in sight of the giant Ferris wheel and the parachute drop and the century-old Cyclone rollercoaster.

We were reminded that Coney Island and nudity are old friends — even setting aside the burlesque dancers and sideshow performers, back in the days before WWII there were baths with nude sunbathing on the roof (separate sections for women and men, though bold voyeurs going up in the parachute drop could apparently catch a glimpse of both).

But that establishment closed ages ago, and for decades after men won the right to go topless on the beach, women were denied the equal right to do the same thing. That changed as a matter of law 27 years ago…but it has taken longer to change people’s hearts and minds. Clearly that change is finally happening.

And it feels so good. It feels wonderful to be able to relax on a beach with no more on than all the men in sight are wearing — a bottom — and to not feel you’re disrupting the social fabric by doing so. To pull off your top without fear or shame.

And getting to do it with other fun, interesting, smart, well-read women is best of all.

Members in attendance this time included students and teachers, women in art and fashion and theater, a photographer, a neuroscientist, a sex worker. We came from all over America and all over the world — Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Sweden. We’re queer, we’re straight. We’re vegan, we’re carnivores. In other words, we’re everyone. And this Saturday afternoon, everyone was happily going topless.

Would you like to join us next time? We’re getting to the end of summer, so we may not have another beach trip in us this season, but we’ll keep holding outdoor events in the city as long as the weather holds up (in some years that’s even meant events in October and November!). And when it gets too cold out to do that, we find fun things to do naked indoors. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you’re curious or intrigued…whether you know for sure you want to do it or are still a little nervous…we’d love to hear from you. Email toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com or find us on Insta at @Topless_Pulp. (On Twitter it’s @ToplessPulp without the underscore.) We’ll supply everything you need. Even the books!

And if you do find yourself on the beach in New York before the winter winds begin to blow, we hope you’ll try going topless too. Yes, it’s easier with a group of other women — but it’s fine doing it solo too. The law is the law. And for once, we’re the beneficiaries of it.

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

This time of year, we often hear from friends in other parts of the world and sometimes we envy them their warm weather. For instance, our favorite Aussies sent this photo from their most recent beach trip:

You can’t see much of the sea and sky (and even less of the sand), but you do get the sense that the temperature there is well north of freezing. Which is more than we can say of New York City.

Closer to home, we corresponded with a friend in Florida — but where she lives in Florida it’s both warmer and colder than here in NYC. How’s that possible? Well, the literal climate is warmer, but the climate for women exercising their equal rights is colder, meaning that if our friend wants to read without a shirt on, she’s got to do it in the privacy of her own home.

In Florida! Land of warmth and sun! Millions of men walk around in the Florida sun with no clothing on above the waist. Why in the world should it be forbidden for the women of Florida to do the same thing? (ETA: #NotALLFlorida, as some of our readers have pointed out. You can go topless on Miami Beach; South Beach is famous for it. And of course Haulover Beach is fully nude. But try it in some other counties and you’re in for a chillier reception.)

Now there’s nothing wrong with reading in your own home, or being naked at home — those are both wonderful things to do, and believe us, we’re doing plenty of both these days.

But that shouldn’t be any woman’s only option. Not when men can do it on any beach, in any marina, the deck of their yacht, the cockpit of their kayak, the seat of their bicycle, etc., etc., etc.

Here’s to more options for women — and to warmer weather returning to NYC, where there are more options.

Maybe when it does our friend will pack her shades and her read and come for a visit.

IMG_6455For years, people — including our own members — have been telling us we needed to go to Gunnison, the nude beach in Sandy Hook, New Jersey. But it was in New Jersey! Even getting out members out to the beach in Brooklyn (Coney Island) or Queens (Riis) was hard. Gunnison is an hour and a half drive from the city, and almost none of our members have cars, for one thing. And yeah, there’s a ferry that can take you part of the way by water, but only part of the way, and then you have to get a bus, and the line can be long, and…

And we never went. For seven years.

But this year we finally did, and as everyone predicted, it was pretty wonderful.

IMG_6481IMG_6803IMG_6546IMG_6549Gunnison is a weird place. It’s in New Jersey but on federal land (a former military base, it seems), which is why even though New Jersey is more restrictive about nudity than New York is, you can actually go fully nude at Gunnison but only topless at New York beaches.

IMG_6791And it’s absolutely packed on a sunny weekend day — easily a thousand people. Not all aging hippies, not all leathery sun worshippers or hipsters with lumberjack beards and body modifications; you’ll find those types, but really you’ll find every type. There were a lot of couples just spending the day together, work buddies hanging out, recent immigrants from two dozen countries…it was like the crowd you might see on the subway at rush hour, only a) friendly and b) not wearing any clothes. This isn’t Burning Man, where you hang out naked with tripping artists and free spirits and Silicon Valley billionaires and their aspiring model friends. This is hanging out naked with random regular people — your dental hygienist is there in the crowd somewhere, and the guy who stocks supplies in your office’s mail room, and the girls who work the registers at the supermarket where you bought the strawberries and pita chips and guac you brought with you to the beach so you wouldn’t starve.ย Your bus driver is there (literally: we booked a bus to take us there and back, and in between the driver hit the sand himself, and he couldn’t get enough of it: “Oh man,” he texted us, “it’s my first time here. I love that beach!”). Your high school math teacher is probably there somewhere, or maybe your elementary school principal. And no one’s embarrassed or ashamed. Everyone’s just chilling.

IMG_6569One of the reasons is that there are no cameras, or almost none — the culture there is very much a no-photos culture, which meant we got some side-eye when we took out ours to memorialize this event. Of course we explained our goal was only to photograph ourselves. But we get it: it’s a crowded beach and a photo that’s got us in the foreground might have who-knows-whom in the background. Out of respect for the crowd and its norms, we took very few pictures (by our standards) and so have only a handful to share.

IMG_6565But picture taking wasn’t the point. The point was that here was a spot within relatively easy driving distance of the city where all the city’s denizens could strip off every stitch and just be human together. And that was an entrancing discovery. Of course we knew we could do that — we get naked together all the time, and we love it. But we’re used to doing it surrounded by strangers who range from indifferent to judgmental, and who certainly don’t respond to our nakedness by getting naked themselves. This was like walking into Central Park and seeing everyone in the crowd completely naked, from grandmas to teenagers, every skin tone and body type, a thousand vulvas and penises, two thousand breasts, and not an unkind word or uncomfortable glance anywhere. It was truly inspiring.

IMG_6505IMG_6692IMG_6729IMG_6757IMG_6780Will we go back? Well, itย isย a long drive. And the summer’s almost over. But how did Molly Bloom put it? yes I said yes I will Yes.

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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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Swanbourne Jan 2018 -1While we’re still freezing our asses off here in New York City, we’re thrilled to hear from friends in other, warmer parts of the world, like our sister group in Australia. They shared some photos with us from a recent visit to Swanbourne Beach in Perth, where from all appearances it’s basically paradise on earth.

Swanbourne Jan2018 -4“Indecent exposure is defined as an act that causes offence,” writes the leader of our Aussie crew, “so nudity, toplessness, bum out, etc., is not an offence on its own. Specific areas can be defined by a specific dress or behaviour code, so we do have three beaches which are specified as not top free. Otherwise all is good. Beaches are only 20 mins from the city centre, and right in the middle is the legal nude beach, with other ones north and south. Hence we tend to ‘hang out’ on beaches more than say parks, but could if we wanted to. Backyard swimming pools go without saying.”

Swanbourne Jan2018 -2She continued: “Hope everyone in the northern half of the world defrosts soon, but we are doing just fine down here. For everyone up your way in the cold, come on downunder.”

Swanbourne Jan2018 -3Ah, how we wish we could! Nothing sounds better to a chilled New Yorker than chilling on the beach, and warming our southern hemispheres in the southern hemisphere would be lovely. Alas, the whole 24-hours-on-a-plane thing. And the be-at-work-Monday-morning thing. So we’ll wait for the warmth to migrate northward.

But more photos would not be unwelcome, girls! We can enjoy the sun vicariously, and warm ourselves with the smoldering flames of our envy. ๐Ÿ™‚

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ETA: Ask and you shall receive! We just got these mailed to us from our girls in Oz.

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SwanRiver20180322-4.jpgSwanRiver20180322-1.jpgWill they ever visit NYC? We certainly hope so! We’ve never met any of them in the flesh, and we’d love to. ๐Ÿ™‚

MVI_3633Sorting through all our photos from the summer, remembering the good times we’ve had, we came across a brief video we shot when we were on Riis Beach but somehow forgot to include when we posted our report about that trip.

It’s just a few seconds long — not even the length of a Vine! — but we thought we’d share it anyway.

The summer may be fading, but in memory we’ll be dancing forever.