Archives for category: media coverage

IMG_7462After 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.

IMG_7374IMG_7372IMG_7387At 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.

IMG_7414IMG_7419What 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:

IMG_7473Yes, 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.

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IMG_7270Most of the time we confine ourselves to Manhattan — more a matter of laziness than principle, really, and even the laziness doesn’t make much sense when you consider how many of us live in Brooklyn. Perhaps it’s the centrality that attracts us. In any event: we generally meet in Manhattan. But with summer winding down, and with one of our number having access to a lovely rooftop sundeck in an Outer Borough, we decided to peregrinate to the other side of the river. And look what we found when we got there:

IMG_7082Just a little reminder of what we stand for. Individual liberty — and huddled masses yearning to breathe free. If only she wore her robe draped just a little more loosely, hers could. And why not? She is French, after all.

IMG_7131IMG_7229IMG_7215We were joined on our afternoon adventure by a reporter from the New York Times, who wanted to learn more about our group and why we do what we do; you may see a report from them sometime over the coming weeks. (Here we are striking a pose for her camera. Because why not. We’re proud of what we do.)

IMG_7363We were also joined by some bagels and black-and-white cookies from Barney Greengrass, some bubbly intoxicants from Ms. Liberty’s homeland, and books by two Kings (Stephen and Lily).

IMG_7304Later in the afternoon we wandered over to Prospect Park, where someone with no knowledge of the law called 911 on us, causing the police to roll up, see that we weren’t doing anything illegal, and roll on. But that’s a subject for another post. For now, let’s remember the happier parts of the day — when Liberty was in sight, and no one was trying to dismantle her.

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IMG_4408As longtime visitors to our site know, we’re not shy. We’ve taken, oh, about six thousand photographs of our events and posted scads them on this very site, which has in turn been viewed some 15,700,189 times by women and men all over the world. And we’ve been written about by many news outlets — probably hundreds, especially if you count that Greek newspaper that one time. But: until today we have never once appeared on video for any of them. You’ve never heard any of us speak.

That’s about to change, since we were kindly and sympathetically approached by a reporter for Salon.com, asking if she could be our first. And we do like first times, and trying new things, and breaking new boundaries. So once she convinced us that she understood what we were all about and that her approach would be consistent with the site’s tradition of fair coverage and female-positive views, we agreed to let her come out with us, first to Washington Square Park and then to a spot a little farther uptown, on the banks of the Hudson River.

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Both afternoons were lovely, and so was her company. So much so that we’ve invited her back to be a member in good standing. We’ll see if she joins us sometime, sans videocamera (and sans vetements). But for now we’re excited to see how the piece she’s working on comes out. Who knows? It may even be up on their site by the time you read this. We’ll add a link once it is. (EDITED TO ADD: Here it is — http://goo.gl/Tz9ZHP.)

In the meantime, enjoy these behind-the-scenes shots, from our very own salon. (Of the literary variety, naturally. Not that there’s anything wrong with beauty salons, hair salons, etc. But we suspect that’s not the meaning that gave Salon.com its name. Who really knows, though? We’ll have to ask Janet about keratin treatments sometime.)

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IMG_6162Sometimes you just need to have faith.

The weather forecast promised — threatened — rain for three days running, and specifically said it would rain today. Well, we’d planned an outing to Bryant Park and didn’t mean to be dissuaded. So out we went, hoping against hope that the rain would hold off one afternoon longer.

And did it ever. What began as a grey, grim, cloudy day turned into one of the loveliest of the summer. When it became apparent that it would, the staff at Bryant Park took down the ropes keeping people off the grass, and we were the first to lie down on the lawn, inaugurating it with our nakedness.

IMG_6119IMG_6165IMG_6198Some interesting encounters with passers-by, as is always the case in Bryant Park (bigger parks offer more spots for relative privacy; Bryant is basically one rectangular lawn, so everyone can see everything). This fellow stopped by to say how brave and courageous we were, and kept saying it until we finally (bravely and courageously) wished him godspeed and sent him off to meet his wife at Grand Central.

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This fellow stood painting us, and the result placed us on a lawn by the sea.

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And this little piggie…well, you can read his employer’s name on the side of his microphone, so you know he wasn’t likely to be our favorite person of the day.

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But…those encounters all fall into the category of sideshow. The main attraction was the chance to be out in the sun, to roll in the grass, to catch up with old friends and make new ones, to eat Tom Colicchio’s unspeakably scrumptious cinnamon buns, to read Anais Nin and Donald E. Westlake and Samuel Fuller and Beautiful Creatures, and to do all this without the encumbrance of a bra or bikini top.

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We even attracted a convert to the cause, as a recent NYU grad, seeing us relish our liberty, came over and asked if she could join us. Of course, we said. And then there were eight. (Or sixteen, depending on how you’re counting.)

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The lesson being, never trust a weather forecast.

Though we hope we can trust the one for this coming Friday, since it’s projecting sun…

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IMG_4183Yesterday the Huffington Post reported on our adventures: goo.gl/L9ZDUK. Then so did Oyster Magazine: http://www.oystermag.com/nyc-s-topless-book-club-nsfw. Then an Italian radio station’s website. Then Tucker Carlson’s The Daily Caller.

And lo and behold, we suddenly got inquiries from a whole bunch of cool women excited to discover that we exist and eager to join us at our next event. We couldn’t be more pleased. The word is spreading! And we can wait to meet our newest members.

Reminder: If you’re reading this and think you might enjoy taking part, drop us a note at toplesspulpfiction[AT]gmail[DOT]com. The summer is coming (slowly, but it’s coming). Wouldn’t you like to feel the warm sun and cool breeze on your breasts rather than an underwire or too-tight sports bra…?

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IMG_3073Nerve.com, one of the Internet’s earliest sites to focus on the intersection of the erotic and the literate, was thoughtful enough to assign Alison Gaylin to write about us: http://goo.gl/rtB64y. Only wish it was warmer out, so we could use it as a recruiting tool!

And no, that photo above isn’t us reading the article today. If it were, there’d be more snow than grass on the ground. But we like to remember the warmer days of summer.  Only a few more months to go…

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IMG_3283The temperature climbed into the upper 60s today, so we decided to brave the autumn weather (overcast and, briefly, raining) for a little walking tour of the Lincoln Center area. We started at the tables by the big reflecting pool and enjoyed a chat with the Village Voice‘s Anna Merlan, then headed over to the iconic fountain, where an uncomfortable-looking security guard told us the plaza is private property and neither women nor men are permitted to go shirtless there. Is that true? Who knows?  It may be private property, but we suspect a shirtless man or two has been allowed to pass through unmolested at the height of summer. But it was too nice a Halloween afternoon to spend time arguing.  Instead, we headed across Broadway to the little farmer’s market there, where we sipped hot apple cider and chatted with passers-by, who seemed more startled by our bare breasts than by the suppurating zombie wounds one of us was sporting or the wolf costume on another.  Of course, most people paid no attention to us at all.  We love you, New York! We love you, Halloween!

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If you don’t see any images on our blog, you can thank Reddit.

Yesterday, following a post about us on Reddit, more than 100,000 people visited our site, by far the most we’ve ever had in one 24-hour period, and this flood of traffic somehow broke something. Don’t know what. We’ve contacted WordPress to see what we need to do to fix it, but in the meantime, people viewing the site using Chrome as their browser don’t seem to see any of the pictures.  (People using Firefox do.  God only knows why.)

We don’t object to a big spike in traffic, of course; we’re delighted if more people know about us. So in the long run this is a good thing. But in the short run…our apologies.

Hopefully everything will be back to normal soon.

ETA: Everything seems to be back to normal! If you spot any problems, please let us know. Meanwhile, to celebrate the blog’s return, here’s a photo from an adventure we had this week, in Washington Square Park.

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IMG_9256The phone’s been ringing off the hook (metaphorically speaking—metaphorical phone, metaphorical hook) ever since we joined forces with Richard Prince’s Fulton-Ryder crew for a topless afternoon in Central Park. Rumor has it that Bob Dylan showed up, paints and easel in hand, and spent the afternoon using us as life models for his latest oil-on-canvas musings.

True? False? Don’t ask us. When we hit the grass for one of our outdoor adventures, we’re focused on our books and each other, not the people all around us. Was there someone with an easel in the distance? Our answer: maybe…?  There almost always is when we visit that particular grove, which is popular with artists of all stripes.  We know there was a bridal party taking photos…some people walking dogs…a guy dressed in what was either a monk’s habit or the world’s most elaborate D&D costume… Was the singer/songwriter responsible for anthems of social change such as “Blowin’ In the Wind” and “The Times, They Are A-Changin'” there, too? If so, he didn’t come over and introduce himself. And we really wish he had. After all, the times, they are a-changin’—and we know a social movement that could use a good anthem.

So, how about it, Mr. Dylan? Whether you were there this time or not, we’d certainly welcome you at another of our events. You can paint us all you want.  The only thing we ask in return is a little bit of the old firebrand poetry to stir the hearts of free-thinking women everywhere. Or should we just repurpose “Blowin’ In the Wind”?

You know how to reach us.

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The good folks at Brokelyn.com ran a story about us on their site today–you can check it out here. We appreciate the coverage!

Within minutes of the story going live, we’d started getting email from Brooklyn denizens eager to join our next outing. This is how a movement grows…