Archives for category: beach

IMG_3181Followers of this blog will have noticed that we don’t go to the beach a lot. That’s not because we don’t like beaches — we love them. But New York City makes it easy to go to the park and hard to go to the beach. Few of us have cars, for one thing, and getting to the beach is a lot easier with one.

But at least once each summer, we make a point of going. Last summer we braved the hour-long subway ride and the siren song of funnel cake vendors to go to Coney Island, and this past week we went to Riis Beach.

IMG_3103Now, Riis is famous, but few of us had ever been. It’s a right pain to get to — in the end, we wound up hiring a bus to take us there and back. And once you’re there, there’s not much in the way of amenities. A few food vendors on the boardwalk, some fenced-in fields, an abandoned nursing home building for atmosphere.

IMG_2938But…what an amazing beach it is!

IMG_3145Who knew that one hour out of Manhattan there’s a beach that’s as free and loose and casual as you’d find on the coast of Spain or a Greek island or either Riviera (French or Maya)? The sand was packed the day we went — one of the nicest weekend days all summer — but everywhere people were relaxing and getting along, and at least on the eastern end where we set up our towels, as many women were topless as not.

IMG_3412IMG_3555IMG_3057How wonderful, for once, not to be the only ones! Not that we really mind when we are — it’s ok, as long as no one bothers us. But how wonderful to look around and see all sorts of women confidently baring their breasts, and no one thinking anything of it!

IMG_3294So we staked out a little patch of sand for ourselves and lost no time in stripping down to as little as we could get away with.

IMG_2919IMG_2949IMG_2988Not to be undone, one of the three boys we had with us this time decided to rock a gold-sequined C-string, which was the hit of the beach until he made the mistake of wearing it into the water. Hello, wave; goodbye, C-string.

IMG_9912The water was lovely. Choppy, yes, some giant waves, but cold and refreshing and we took many long swims…

IMG_3576IMG_3006…then walked the length of the beach after to dry off.

IMG_3411The beach does have a more “bohemian” (aka, gay) section and a slightly more conservative (aka, straight) section, and we probably got a few more looks when we strayed from one to the other. But just curiosity, not hostility. No catcalls, nothing to break the lovely mood of the day, even when we moved from the sand to the boardwalk.

IMG_3374Back at our towels, we got some reading done. (No, Invisible Man doesn’t count as pulp fiction — it wasn’t the H.G. Wells version! — and neither does The New Yorker, but cut us some slack. We like to read a variety…)

IMG_3500IMG_3227IMG_3219And for those who didn’t bring reading material? There was sun, sun sun.

IMG_3260IMG_3319IMG_3463IMG_3095Eventually 5pm arrived, and our bus with it. We took one last dip…

IMG_3037IMG_3519…then packed our things, bid a rueful adieu to the sand and sun, and motored back to Manhattan.

Would we do it again? Oh, in a heartbeat. It’s tempting to go every week! Yes, Gunnison lets you go fully nude, which would be an improvement; Riis has a history of being used nude, but that was in the 60s and 70s, and the world is more censorious about such things now. (Unless the ocean eats your swimsuit, people understand that!) But Riis more than makes up for it with the warmth of the crowd, the quality of the scenery, and the relative ease of access (Gunnison is in New Jersey, a 50% longer drive). And you really couldn’t ask for a better place to relax with friends.

IMG_3597Probably this was our only beach trip for this summer, but if you’d be excited about joining us for another, we can consider it — just send email to and let us know.  August is beach weather too, after all.


IMG_4647We rarely stump for individual books, but there’s a speculative fiction anthology in the works called PROBLEM DAUGHTERS that we’re very excited about, not only because it promises to collect fiction and poetry from female authors writing on the theme of intersectional feminism, and not just because the title is so great, but because one of the book’s editors, Nicolette Barischoff, is a member of our group!


IMG_9168You’ve seen Nicci at any number of our events; even though she lives in California, she makes her way to NYC as often as she can. And this latest project of hers promises to bring her east several more times this year. So: yay. Plus we’ll all have good reading material to dive into as soon as advance copies get printed.

IMG_9626But before any of that can happen, the project (which is up on IndieGoGo) could use a bit more funding — not a ton, but some, and if you’re inclined to help out, we know Nicci would be thrilled. You can find more info at Check it out soon — the campaign ends Valentine’s Day.nicci-4nicci-5

IMG_1078Yes, we’re New Yorkers. But some of us sometimes travel. And when we do it’s sometimes to a part of the world where we can indulge our inner nudist. (If that isn’t a contradiction in terms. Outer nudist makes more sense, I suppose.)

IMG_1079One of our members took a trip to the Balearic Islands and sent back these photos from her holiday. We thought we’d share them with you.

IMG_1077IMG_1076IMG_1075Do we envy her? Perhaps; but no more than we envy the inhabitants of Ibiza and Formentera for having her company. Meanwhile, our scenery back home may be less sparkling and azure, but rest assured that we’re enjoying our own version of a naked holiday every chance we get, in a very different setting but under the selfsame sun.



IMG_9153How many times over the past six summers have people suggested that we take a trip to a beach? Many. But we never did it, mostly because the nearest beach is an hour away from midtown, and the nearest nude beach is even farther, and we are sometimes very, very lazy. Why spend an hour on the Q train when you can just go to Central Park…?

The ocean, that’s why.

IMG_8826The ocean, the sand, the boardwalk…all the things that make Coney Island Coney Island. Let’s not forget the junk food. The rides and games, too.

IMG_8532So…we finally went. We went with our books, our sunscreen.

IMG_9075We went with our dogs.

IMG_8633We went with our wheelchair.

IMG_8949We went with our kids. (Yes, a few of us have kids!)

IMG_8725And what a happy, warm, delicious afternoon it was.

IMG_9148We spent most of the time on the sand, basking in a way that the grass of Central Park just doesn’t permit. Then some time cooling off in the ocean. Then back to the sand. The water. The sand.

IMG_9116IMG_9200IMG_9249IMG_9213IMG_9109Did we mention the junk food? At one point we made a hot dog run, giving up on Nathan’s because of the ridiculous lines there, but greatly enjoying the alternative fare at the stand known as Paul’s Daughter. (Mango slushie? Eh. Hand-cut French fries? Yes, please!)

IMG_9044What sort of reception did we get? No complaints, no visits from the police — unless you count this NYPD helicopter that hovered low over the shore. (We waved. It seemed to satisfy them.)

IMG_9086One dour-looking fellow appeared to be so fascinated by the sight of us that he hung around for several hours, staring at us creepily. But we didn’t let him bother us.

IMG_8990A number of women came by to congratulate us, thank us, or say they didn’t know it was legal to go topless — that always feels good, when we get the chance to educate people about their rights. One woman even took our info and swore she’d join up and come to future events. Who knows? Maybe she will.

And speaking of new members, we had one come out with us this time who is a terrifically talented manga artist, and she spent much of the afternoon sketching the rest of us.

IMG_8955IMG_8692IMG_8590She gave us permission to share the results:

Coney-Island-Beach-Jul-11-fullSo what’s next? Will we eventually get up the get-up-and-go to go all the way to Gunnison as a group? (Gunnison is the region’s only official nude beach, as far as we know.)

Maybe. We’ll see. But in the meantime we’re glad we finally got at least a taste of sun and sand. Even if only one of us was brave enough (briefly!) to go all the way…