Archives for category: park

IMG_6273This past Saturday, five dozen people took all their clothes off in Washington Square Park. Some of our members were among them.

IMG_6041IMG_6147IMG_6135IMG_6055IMG_4250Not only did no one call the cops on this display of naked bodies, but the cops were already there and fully supportive — they were present to make sure everything went smoothly and that none of the naked people were harassed or bothered. And none of us were.

IMG_6131Now, here’s an interesting fact: one day later, if any of us had tried to undress to the exact same extent in the exact same place, we would have gotten stopped, and maybe arrested, by those exact same cops. Does that make any sense to you?

Yes, Saturday was a special day: the 5th annual “New York Bodypainting Day” festival. For five years, artist Andy Golub has brought together fellow artists from all over the country and all over the world to paint nude models on one afternoon in the summer. And yes, there is an exception in the public indecency laws for nudity that occurs in the course of making or exhibiting art. That’s why no one got arrested on Saturday.

But what’s the logic? How can it possibly be the case that sixty fully naked women and men standing in a group is an inoffensive sight one day, but the following day even just one fully naked woman or man — perhaps lying among a bunch of sunbathers such as this group that watched us for hours on Saturday — is offensive enough to be deemed illegal?

IMG_6268The prude who says a breast, a vulva, a penis is always and automatically shameful may be wrong (in our humble opinion), but at least the prude is consistent. The person who says vulvas and penises are fine on Saturday but forbidden every other day is either the strangest Sabbath observer ever or else just a hypocrite.

IMG_6308But — as long as the hypocrites are making the rules, we’ll take such opportunities for freedom as we’re granted. One day each year when we can shed the last little vestiges of our clothes out in the park is better than none.

IMG_6312IMG_6190IMG_6292And this one was better than most. The weather was absolutely perfect (not a hint of rain in the sky), the crowd was supportive (not a complaint heard, at least by our ears), there were a pianist and a xylophonist nearby for musical accompaniment (randomly), and we even were graced with a street fair right outside the park, for when our thirst required fresh-squeezed lemonade to quench it (Andy kindly supplied some snacks as well, including unintentionally appropriate ones).

IMG_6253The art that emerged from this inspiring environment was suitably inspired. Meant to reflect this year’s theme, “Movement,” we saw everything from the literal, with moving flora and fauna–

IMG_6250IMG_6263IMG_6241IMG_6338…to the metaphorical, such as a bit of cubism (which began, remember, as an attempt to show movement on a static canvas — how great to see it attempted on a rippling moving canvas!)

IMG_4240…or the sort of movement that results in social change:

IMG_4258Speaking of which, we’re a bit of a movement ourselves, aren’t we? Sparking social change, making people think differently about what they’ve always assumed. Seeking freedom.

IMG_6326On Saturday we were free. In a way we rarely have the opportunity to be. Could Monday morning be just as free someday?

Yes. Someday. We firmly believe that. With or without paint, with or without clothes, bodies should be free.

IMG_6052IMG_6143IMG_6181If you’d like to join our little movement, drop us a note: toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com. With your help, we’ve got some brick walls we’d like to bust through together.

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IMG_4119We went to Bryant Park the other day expecting to get to lie on the lawn — but when we got there, the lawn was roped off, with signs proclaiming that the grass was taking time out to rest after getting stomped on by several hundred pairs of feet during a recent event.

Slightly disappointing — but being dextrous improvisors, we pulled a pair of tables and half a dozen chairs over to the edge of the lawn and sat ourselves down for a lovely and civilized topless picnic, fueled by nibbles sourced from park purveyors.

IMG_4074IMG_4085IMG_4114Interestingly “time out” was an apt theme for the day’s festivities, since we were joined for part of the afternoon by an editor from the magazine Time Out New York, which has written about our activities from time to time over the past several years. While she didn’t get topless herself, she mentioned that she’d spent time topless on Fire Island, so…we have hopes we might yet convert her from curious-observer to full-participating-member status.

IMG_4303In the meantime, we enjoyed our sojourn in what is perhaps Manhattan’s busiest and least private park. Jammed in the heart of midtown, this particular urban oasis leans toward the ‘urban’ side of that formulation. The result was an unusual number of random people sneaking cell-phone photos of us and looking furtive when we made it clear we saw what they were doing.

IMG_4385On the other hand, we also had some lovely interactions, including with a park security officer who stood up for us repeatedly whenever he was asked if what we were doing was legal (it was, and he knew it, and he patiently repeated it to anyone who questioned it), and with this fellow, whose service dog welcomed the warm hug we offered it.

IMG_4281There was ample sun and a variety of spots from which to enjoy its caresses.

IMG_4179IMG_4162There was talk of politics and body image and subjective feelings of comfort, including some discussion of why it feels different to be topless with your nipples bare vs. topless with your nipples covered. (One of our members came to our event straight from a swimsuit photoshoot for which she’d had nipple covers already in place, and she left them on as much for visual variety as any other reason.)

IMG_4228IMG_4233And to add to the whole covered/uncovered dichotomy there was this is-it-a-top? top, which served not only in the park but for the subway ride home after as well.

IMG_4039IMG_4182-subwayAll in all, a terrific way to celebrate the first full week of summer. Would you like to join us for the second? We have a very special private bodypainting event coming up, followed by an outdoor acroyoga class taught by a member who’s not only an acro instructor but also a black belt in taekwondo! If you’d like to come to one of those — or just to one of our regular events where all be do is sip cool beverages and hang out — please email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com.  All women are welcome! We hope you’ll take a moment to write and say hi.

And remember: it’s your right as much as it is his.

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IMG_0864Today, our blog topped 22.5 million views — a random number, but also sort of an astonishing one when you consider that we’re just one small group in one city, quietly going about our business. Granted, it’s a big city and what we’re doing is eye-catching. But still. It’s gratifying to know that our message has peacefully spread to so many readers in so many parts of the world. (Fewer than half our views have come from the United States; the rest have come from everywhere from Europe and Australia to Micronesia, Vatican City, even North Korea.)

People across America and throughout the world have seen that in New York it’s possible for women to enjoy the same freedom as men, and for women’s bodies to be treated as normal and ordinary and healthy, rather than shameful or provocative or in some other way deserving of being forcibly covered up or hidden away.

0713-jWe’ve flown the banner of freedom in parks and plazas,

park-jMadisonSq-eOn rooftops and in restaurants,

IMG_9479IMG_5605IMG_7071At landmarks and monuments,

octpfas_081513-9618AS_2382In front of audiences of hundreds and alone in privacy of our little inflatable pool,

IMG_5038IMG_9556In bikini bottoms and in nothing at all.

IMG_3009IMG_2965IMG_2887And through it all we’ve maintained our sense of humor and patience and our conviction that in the end the world will come to see things our way.

Would you like to be part of our grand adventure? Whether you’ve ever done it before or are a nervous first-timer, we welcome all women. Just email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and let us know you’re interested. You’ll be bare-chested under the sun before you know it. And we have a feeling you’re going to love it. 🙂

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IMG_2297So, we got this email.

It was from a fan of our group who lives in Ireland. She’d read about us online some years ago and had been excited ever since about what we do. “Coming from a country that’s FINALLY started controlling women’s bodies just a little bit less,” she wrote, “I can’t imagine anything happening like this in Ireland.” She was only going to be in New York for a few days, but did we have a meet-up planned that she could join?

IMG_2288Well, we didn’t — but the weather was looking cooperative, and we can’t say no to a fan who’s been waiting years to meet us, so we made a snap decision to see if one or two of us might be free on short notice to meet in Bryant Park, behind the main branch of the New York Public Library. And then…

We got this other email.

IMG_2397This one wasn’t from overseas, but it was still from pretty far away, in the heart of the great American midwest, from a woman who wrote, “I am a nudist (and English major, so I love books!) who is in town for a few days with my boyfriend, also a nudist. When I Googled nudist activities in New York you guys came up.” Did we have a meet-up planned on Wednesday that she could join…?

IMG_2355Well, yes. As it just so happens, we did, thanks to our new friend from Ireland.

IMG_2312And so, what had started out as a tiny, last-minute thing turned into a proper event with more than half a dozen of us lying out on the lawn, relaxing blissfully top-free in the mid-afternoon sun, celebrating freedom and international comity. (Or is it amity? Harmony? We leave it to you and your thesaurus to decide.)

IMG_2480IMG_2494IMG_2503We shared sunscreen…

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IMG_2350…and showed off our ink. (One of us even bore the Dark Mark! Go, Slytherin!)

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IMG_2455We shared towels and reading material, and we broke bread.

IMG_2264And when the time came to call it an afternoon, it was like old friends saying goodbye.

IMG_2513If you’re from far away but plan to be in New York sometime this summer, let us know. We can’t promise to get something up on short notice every time (so the more notice you can give us, the better), but we love to meet women from other parts of the country and other parts of the world who share our outlook on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Just email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and let us know when you’re going to be in town.

And if you’re a New Yorker? Why, that just makes everything even easier.

Get in touch.

Wherever you’re from, far or near, we’ll be bosom buddies before long.

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IMG_2143School’s out…there’s a Star Wars movie in the theaters…grocery stores have broken out the hot dog buns and the red white and blue…it may not officially be summer yet, but we’re calling it. Finally. Enough with the cold, enough with the rain, and enough with the clothes.

IMG_1605As those of you who’ve followed our adventures for a while know, it’s legal in New York for women to go topless anywhere a man can. But you rarely see women doing it, even when the weather would easily justify it. Why? Either because people don’t know it’s legal (or aren’t 100 percent certain it is — though it absolutely, 100 percent is) or, even if they do know it’s legal, because they’re worried about what might happen if they tried it. The result: when we came to the lush and lovely East Lawn in Central Park this weekend, we saw this…

IMG_1124And even this…

IMG_1128But until we showed up, not this:

IMG_1980So we had a job to do. Our mission is to act as a sort of aide-memoire, reminding everyone in shouting distance that going shirtless is every woman’s right. Well, it’s your right if you live in New York — and it should be your right everywhere.

What did we do with this right of ours? Just enjoyed it. We didn’t shout, we didn’t don balaclavas or hoist picket signs — there are times for that, but we prefer simply leading by example. We swiftly got rid of what limited waist-up garments we wore to the park–

IMG_1161IMG_1521(We might, in some cases, briefly have disposed of some waist-down garments as well. It was just such a nice day.)

IMG_1874IMG_2111We brought out snacks courtesy of Driscoll’s and Starbucks

IMG_1549IMG_1378IMG_1629…which not only supplied calories but enabled a recreation of The Creation of Adam.

IMG_1330We dove into books by Jeff VanderMeer

IMG_1642IMG_1727and Jeffrey Eugenidies

IMG_1911IMG_2016and some people not named Jeff.

IMG_1765IMG_1676Between the food for thought and the plain old food, our appetites were well sated — especially when you add in the sun and the breeze and the neighborly dog who came over for petting and belly rubs, and the absolute and utter lack of fuss made by anyone at all over our bare chests. One infrequent member marveled at it: No one’s bothering us. No one’s saying anything. No one’s staring.

Right. Exactly. And that’s just the way it should be.

Freedom should always be this easy and feel this good.

IMG_2218If you would like to take part in one of our events this season — if you’d like to feel this free and this good — please email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com. We welcome all women, whether you’re a veteran of topless beaches or a nervous first-timer. Write to us. Ask any questions you have. Come once to try it for yourself. But don’t deny yourself this pleasure and this privilege.

It’s your right as much as it is any man’s.

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IMG_1111We’re told that when the flood came, all God’s creatures went on the ark in pairs, two by two. Did they come off the ark that way, too, when the sun came out again?

Don’t ask us; we’re not the bible study type. But as our corner of the world has been emerging from its own seemingly endless season of dismal weather, two by two is how we’re poking our heads out into the sun again.

IMG_0935First there was our two-person expedition to visit the cherry blossoms in Central Park.

IMG_0636Then we got word that a fan from Australia was in town, so one of us joined her on a still-chilly day near the John Lennon memorial by Strawberry Fields. (You only see one of us because our Aussie friend was nervous about coworkers back home seeing her topless on the Internet. That’s ok. She did get topless in front of a few hundred total strangers on the other side of the planet. One step at a time.)

IMG_0173IMG_0169Then, after a solid week of rain, the clouds parted briefly on Sunday afternoon, and two of us headed out to Washington Square Park, where we unclad ourselves among a blissful potpourri of recent NYU grads, hula hoopers, adorable pigeon feeders, and enthusiastically patriotic canines.

IMG_0753IMG_1056IMG_1004IMG_1121No hula hoops for us, but we brought books, and the various yummies we also brought didn’t go to the birds. We read, lounged, noshed, and caught up on a winter’s worth of drama in each other’s lives. And then read some more. We are a book club and do have our priorities, after all.

IMG_0965IMG_0976IMG_0988Two by two. But the sun is shining more regularly now, and more of us are aching to feel her rays on our sun-deprived exteriors. So you’ll see larger numbers of us out and about soon. And remember, if you’d like to be part of those larger numbers yourself, we welcome all women, the bold and the curious, to join us — just email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and we’ll let you know what we’ve got coming up.

Wouldn’t you enjoy being out in the sun and free?

We hope you’ll reflect on it.

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IMG_0623This past week, the weather in New York skipped over spring entirely and went directly to summer. 92 degrees! That’s high even for summer. And just a week ago it was 46. No matter. We’ve given up trying to figure out the climate. Instead, we went to Central Park to see the cherry trees in bloom.

IMG_0636It was a midday event on a weekday, so just a couple of us came out, but it was no less beautiful for all that.

IMG_0258IMG_0470The crook of a branch made a lovely seat, even if we did get chased out of the perch by a group of grade-school boys who made it clear to us that this was their tree, and they always climbed it at 3pm when school let out, and they weren’t going to change their afternoon ritual for anyone.

IMG_0314IMG_0350IMG_0372Once again: no matter. Central Park is big and bountiful, and there are hills and rocks and lawns to lie on–

IMG_0385IMG_0425IMG_0443–and other trees to greet with ardor–

IMG_0563–and of course the Central Park Reservoir to go visit for a post-ardor smoke.

IMG_0653IMG_0683A less-than-well-informed Central Park Conservancy employee drove up at one point and half-heartedly tried to hassle us about being topless, but he was in the wrong, we told him he was, and he grumbled off into his truck again.

IMG_0294.jpgAside from that one minor annoyance, it was as lovely an afternoon as it could’ve been. And we look forward to returning soon!

Would you like to join us? All open-minded, body-positive women are welcome. Just email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com. We’ll be glad to let you into our secret cherry grove. 🙂

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