Archives for category: nude

IMG_0880“I just want to tell you,” the man in the dress shirt and necktie said, “I love what you’re doing. You’re bringing back the 1980s. Back then, everyone here was completely naked.” The smile on his face was warm and genuine, though it was hard to imagine the fond memory he was describing was accurate. People went completely naked on the piers at the Hudson River? Well, they hadn’t been developed yet; they were just rotting spurs of wood sticking out into the water; so, maybe. And yet…really?

“Yes,” he said. “You’d come here and everyone would be naked. It was free and wonderful.”

Free and wonderful: two words we could relate to, even if we still had our bottoms on. The wonderful part, especially, since it’s a wonder that in the middle of October it was still warm enough to go bare outdoors. Later, when the sun had set, we went online to search, and sure enough found this:

slide_218857_843458_freeThe Hudson Piers were once home to a flourishing gay and lesbian scene, which included nude sunbathing, until gentrification arrived and chased the sunbathers away.  Needless to say, we’re proud to be doing our part to bring it back, even if we’re only taking baby steps by comparison.

IMG_0827IMG_0814IMG_0824These days, the piers have been developed, with artful, asymmetrical grass swards and metal sculptures dotting the grounds, and the sun worshipers lounging about look like this–

IMG_0568IMG_0714But the day we came, they also looked like this:

IMG_0618IMG_0677IMG_0664And we saw the gentleman’s handstand and raised it three cartwheels.

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We certainly felt free there — no one bothered us or complained, or even gave us a dirty stare. In fact, when we saw a bare-chested man enjoying a beer at the outdoor bar at the end of the pier, we figured we’d be welcome that way too — and we were.

IMG_1023IMG_1065IMG_1077New York may not be everything it was 30 or 40  years ago, but in at least one respect it’s been freer and more wonderful since 1992, the year a state court established that it’s legal for women to go topless anywhere men can. Back in the day, maybe people went naked, but they were all breaking the law by doing so. Today, we can do what we do in total comfort and confidence.

IMG_0951IMG_0857IMG_0763Of course, the balmy temperatures won’t be around for much longer — already it’s turned colder.

But the flame of freedom? That burns all winter long.

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IMG_8036We recently had the good fortune to reach nearly 2 million viewers with the brief video documentary that 60-Second Docs created about us. Maybe by the time you read this it’ll be over 2 million, who knows. In any event, it’s a lot of people, all over the world, who have now been exposed to the fact that women in New York are free to go topless outdoors in public anywhere that men are. That’s a wonderful thing. We hope it encourages more women to try it if it’s allowed where they live, or to try to change the law where they live if it’s not allowed yet.

But public spaces aren’t the only ones in which people sometimes enjoy relaxing without clothes on. There are private spaces as well, such as this rooftop sundeck that we periodically visit for a bit of naked R&R. Happily, even in jurisdictions where public toplessness isn’t an option for women, private toplessness (or nudity) generally still is — you just have to find a suitable spot.

IMG_7971That’s not a substitute for equality in the public realm — nothing is. But if you can’t take your shirt off in a public park where you live, or on the beach, we hope you don’t let that keep you from getting a taste of outdoor nakedness altogether.

IMG_8062IMG_8065Similarly, if you live in New York and could legally go topless in the middle of Central Park but feel too shy to do it, maybe an afternoon sunning on a private rooftop would be a good way to try it out.

IMG_8001One way or another, we hope you do try it. It’s the most liberating, satisfying feeling! And each small step is another step closer to the ultimate goal: freedom and equality everywhere.

IMG_7878Today the rooftop, tomorrow the world.

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IMG_4928If every fall could be like this one has been so far, we’d have nothing to complain about.

IMG_4962Well, that’s not exactly true: the threat of nuclear war, racism back at home, a real son of a bitch in the White House. We have plenty to complain about. But the weather — the weather has been wonderful, and we’ve been taking full advantage of it.

IMG_5123IMG_4710IMG_4841fThis was us on our favorite rooftop sundeck, soaking up as many rays as our bodies could absorb, knowing full well that, as a certain HBO series puts it, winter is coming. We also met in the park, and we’ll let you see that shortly, but first things first. There’s really nothing like getting naked with a dozen of your friends —

IMG_4643— and for good measure a stranger or two, who quickly became new friends. (There’s nothing quite like nudity to spark fellow-feeling.)

IMG_4581IMG_4758And there’s nothing like being somewhere where it’s okay not just to take your shirt off but to take off every last stitch.

IMG_4865f(Not counting dinosaur jewelry, of course. That always stays on. Always.)

IMG_4552Someone recently commented on one of our old posts that one of our members might be upset because her vulva was showing in one of the photos. So? We have vulvas. (Most of us.) They deserve sun as much as any other part of the body, and too rarely get any. And it’s healthier to enjoy your body than to be ashamed of it.

IMG_4924IMG_4662IMG_4846What else are we not ashamed of? Reading. Reading everything under the sun, quite literally. In this case, Schott’s Original Miscellany. Not pulp fiction, but quite wonderful.

IMG_4690Also: satisfying our non-literary cravings, for instance for libations or ablutions.

IMG_4694IMG_4742IMG_5024We took butt selfies in the sun…

IMG_4810…and had fun in the shade.

IMG_5020fIMG_4941And what’s next on the docket for us? Well, we’re collecting ideas for indoor events to occupy ourselves with then the snow and sleet and wind inevitably come. But in the meantime, we’re gonna keep seizing these 80- and 90-degree days for all they’re worth.

IMG_4900IMG_4731IMG_5072IMG_4992fIf you want to carpe the diem along with us, just email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com. There’s always room for more curious, brave women on our rooftop, and in our hearts.

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IMG_6346Last summer, we produced an all-female, all-nude staging of Shakespeare’s final play, The Tempest, outdoors in Central Park, and it was a huge success: hundreds of people came to see the play in person, and millions more — literally — read or heard about it in media coverage ranging from NBC News and Salon to every major newspaper in the U.K. (They love it when Americans experiment with Shakespeare, apparently.)

img_3506One recurring theme in the comment section of online coverage, however, went like this: “They could only do this because it was women — try it with naked men and they’d get arrested!” Well, we all know a challenge when we hear one. So our Tempest directors sat down to plan an all-nude, all-male production of Hamlet. 

IMG_6354That production was staged this summer, first in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and then, just this past week, in Central Park, at the foot of the beautifully appropriate King Jagiello statue. Again hundreds of people came, and — lo and behold, no arrests. Just a marvelous production of a great play.

IMG_6343Audience members ranged from 6 to 66, roughly speaking, and at neither end was offense taken, though the youngest viewers seem to have found the iambic pentameter somewhat hard to follow.

IMG_6326Will there be another production next summer, and if so, with what genders performing? Still to be decided. We like to come up with different things to do each year. But we’re thrilled to have helped establish a new tradition: nude Shakespeare in the park. Enjoyed by all, of harm to none, bringing a fresh view to 400-year-old plays and a glimpse of freedom to the public spaces of New York City. The sight of a bared breast doesn’t cause society’s foundations to crack, nor does the sight of a vulva, nor of a penis.

IMG_6325The beauty of the world, Shakespeare wrote, the paragon of animals…in form and moving, how express and admirable; in action, how like an angel, in apprehension, how like a god! And: There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.

We are animals all — and angels all. Our naked bodies are no more than we were born with, the common currency of all humanity, and to hate another’s is to hate yourself.

Or as a playwright once put it, we hold the mirror up to nature. What you see in it is yours to grapple with.

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IMG_1625For the fourth time in four years, a group of more than 100 artists and models congregated in a public place in New York City — this time, it was in Washington Square Park — to demonstrate that art can take many forms, that the human body can also take many forms, that that the human body is nothing to be ashamed of, and that a naked human body can be an aesthetic object, not only or always a sexual one.

IMG_1559IMG_1650IMG_1743The artists came from all over the United States and all over the world — Japan, Russia, Latvia. Texas. Brooklyn. The models came in all sizes, shapes, ages, races, genders.

IMG_1648IMG_1679IMG_1774IMG_1513The theme this year was a broad one — just one word, Humanity. Nothing that would constrain an artist unduly, but a wonderful jumping-off point for art meant to celebrate what we have in common and our capacity for kindness, thoughtfulness, and decency.

Yes, decency — though five dozen naked bodies were uncovered in a public place, in front of thousands of passers-by, it was decency, not indecency, that was on display.

IMG_1688While some in the crowd showed confusion at first, by far the most common reaction was a smile. Some people we spoke to expressed wonder that an event like this was permitted, but they were overwhelmingly enthusiastic and supportive. A few expressed interest in coming back as models or painters next summer. And they’ll be welcomed gladly.

IMG_1622Some of our members made appearances under the paint–

IMG_1728–while for other models this was their first time standing nude in front of strangers.

IMG_1549IMG_1666IMG_1827And because this was an artistic exhibition, nude meant nude, not just topless — the ordinary restrictions on public nudity don’t apply when you’re creating art. Which meant that thousands of people got to see that a vulva or penis is just a body part like a nose or an elbow, not something you need to shield your eyes from.

(Not to put too fine a point on it, but it’s awfully rare to see a penis presented in public in anything other than a hostile way, as an act of aggression or an attempt to provoke shock, fear or disgust. How wonderful to see penises in their natural state, just there between a man’s legs, doing no harm to anyone, and not meant to do any harm.)

IMG_1805IMG_1653IMG_1821IMG_1834IMG_1641Vaginas, of course, by their nature, are harder to display and to paint, but we proudly salute all our sisters and their marvelous multicolored labia.

IMG_1721IMG_1697IMG_1800But the focus wasn’t on any body part — it was on the totality of the human canvas and what art can be birthed from and upon it. We remain in awe of some of the gorgeous creations we saw, including the ones we saw on our own bodies.

IMG_1668IMG_1664And for all those of you who supported the event, or came to it, or participated in it — thank you.

We appreciate, and gratefully salute, your humanity.

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IMG_2904A new non-profit arts organization called Human Connection Arts wants to bring fully nude outdoor body-painting events to four cities this year: New York, Berlin, Amsterdam and San Francisco. But they need your help! They have a Kickstarter attempting to raise the money needed to fund the events, and with only 42 hours to go, they’re still $1,400 short of the goal. And if they don’t reach their goal, they get no money at all! [ETA: They made it!! Whew. Nakedness, art and free expression to ensue as planned!]

IMG_2894IMG_2902To build awareness, the HCA team brought four nude models to the streets of Greenwich Village today for an impromptu painting session that brought traffic to a halt and left hundreds of passers-by smiling.

IMG_2887Lots of people had questions, but only a few expressed anything less than delight and support.

Of course, this was in Greenwich Village — some neighborhoods might be less supportive. But it was a joy to see so many people face to face with public nudity and pleased to see it.

IMG_2868IMG_2872If you’re in New York and would like to see it live, the New York event will take place from 12 noon to 4pm on Saturday, July 22, in Washington Square Park. (Be there or be, um, Washington Square. No, wait, that doesn’t work.)

IMG_2890But whether you can come in person or not, if you like what this group stands for and the work they’re doing, please consider helping out. It’s not our event or our organization, but we do like what they’re doing and we support them. We hope you will too.

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IMG_0232Over the past seven summers, hundreds of women have joined us at our events all over New York City, some coming just one time, others returning time and time again. We love seeing both — our regulars and our first-timers. Part of what makes our group special is that both are greeted with the same warmth and welcomed like family. Maybe it’s something about being naked together. It’s hard to hold someone at arm’s length when your arms (and other parts!) are bare.

IMG_0323Would you like to come to one of our events? If you’re a body-positive woman in the New York area, we’d love to hear from you. Just send email to toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com, and we’ll answer any questions you have and very gladly invite you to our next event.

IMG_0266IMG_0312This past week we said farewell to one of our regulars, who just got a very impressive job at an impressive institution in another state. She’ll still show up at our events from time to time, she promises — she’s still on the East Coast! — but not as often as when she lived here, naturally, and we’ll miss her. On the other hand, we also welcomed several newcomers to our ranks this week. Perhaps one or more of them will become regulars in the fullness of time.

IMG_0369IMG_0370IMG_0372IMG_0290IMG_0143We were also delighted to be rejoined by two former regulars who’ve been missing from our events for a very long time.

IMG_0465IMG_0422We met at one of our favorite spots, a rooftop sundeck in Chelsea that thoughtfully permits not just toplessness but full nudity.

IMG_0260IMG_0344IMG_0160An inflatable pool gave us a respite from the unremitting sun–

IMG_0392IMG_0362IMG_0363–and Prosecco (with or without OJ) gave us a respite from unremitting thirst.

IMG_0444IMG_0136Not too much reading went on this time, but a few books did get cracked —

IMG_0256–as well as three new comics from Hard Case CrimeNormandy GoldPeepland, and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

IMG_0276Doughnuts from Doughnut Plant, fruit from the finest local orchards, sunscreen from the finest aluminum cans…we had everything we needed for a splendid afternoon, and a splendid afternoon is what we had.

IMG_0415…and now you can be part of our next one.

It’s okay if you’re nervous, We were too, the first time. It’s okay if you’re shy. It’s okay if you think your breasts are a funny shape, or one is larger than the other, or you wish they were bigger, or smaller, or whatever. It’s okay if you’ve never been naked with strangers before. It really is. You’re curious or you wouldn’t be reading this. You’re tempted. And it won’t be summer forever.

Sending email takes 3 seconds. Treat yourself. Listen to Oscar Wilde: The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.

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