Archives for category: park

Each year around this time of year, with the city’s colleges and private schools out for the summer and public schools about to be, we like to hold a picnic in one of Central Park’s quieter spots for students and recent graduates, to celebrate several things: the end of another school year; the fact that in New York it is legal for women to go topless anywhere a man can; and the fact that this equal right applies equally to all women, regardless of age, race, background, body type, sexuality or any other attribute.

Why is this last point important? Well, in terms of age, we’ve found that girls and young women often feel uncertain whether the law really applies to them, and this lack of certainty and lack of confidence too often leads them to curb their own exercise of the freedoms they’re entitled to. No young man, having just finished a year of high school, would ever question whether he’s entitled to take his shirt off for a game of frisbee in the park — but ask his twin sister if she’s got the same right and you’re likely to get a different answer.

In terms of race, women of color often (and understandably) are uncertain that they’ll be treated with as much tolerance as white women — by either random passerby or the police — if they choose to go topless in a public place. And queer women sometimes worry that, if they are perceived as such. their rights might not be respected as much as those of their cishet sisters.

And of course the intersection of two or more of those identities can lead to higher anxiety still, and an even greater tendency toward self-policing.

So: our student picnic, where we specifically reach out to young women who might not otherwise even have heard of our group, and go out of our way to put together an event that’s diverse in as many dimensions as possible. It’s not “virtue signaling” — it’s a project to deliberately assemble a group large enough and diverse enough that everyone can feel comfortable within it, and then give first-timers who might never otherwise try outdoor toplessness a chance to do so. (It also doesn’t mean we don’t care about diversity the rest of the time — it’s always important to us. But we think it’s good also to make a special extra effort from time to time.)

We also invite some of our longtime members, to act as guides and ease the newcomers’ transition into the world of body comfort.

To jump to the happy ending: this year again, as in all previous years we’ve been doing this, we had a wonderful time. None of the random passerby who wandered through the glade we quietly took over gave us more than a passing glance, no one complained, and no one was made to feel uncomfortable. As for our new members themselves, everyone was friendly and warm and open, and by the end of the event, everyone was gladly exchanging contact info and pledging to stay in touch.

Some were so comfortable, they left the park with their breasts uncovered, relishing their new freedom.

As one new member told us after, “It was my first time and it felt very normal to just be outdoors with bare skin. I was surprisingly very comfortable and I hope to muster up the courage to do this more often when I’m alone in public.”

Alone is tougher, of course — people are more likely to give a hard time to a woman who’s by herself than a group of ten or twenty women. There is safety in numbers, and strength, and solidarity. But alone or in groups, we are so glad to see that more women are discovering the pleasure of what we do and mustering the courage to do it themselves.

So…how about you? Would you like to try it sometime? If you’ve been curious or tempted, even if you were also unsure or nervous, please take a moment and email us. We’re at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com. We’ll find the event — small or large, more private or more public, only topless or fully nude — that’s right for you.

Now is the time, while it’s warm out and while a little voice inside is saying, “You can do that too.” You can. It’s your right. Let us help you discover it.

So here it is, April at last, spring at last, still in the 40s, and we don’t mean celsius, but with the occasional balmier afternoon, the occasional patch of sunlight that warms you like a memory of summer; and you know us, we jump on that like kittens on a plump sofa cushion. The first daffodils of the season are out, and the first cherry blossoms, and by god, so are we,

Central Park is starting to turn green, the trampled soil cautiously putting out its first grassy feelers. And with the return of the grass come some of the park’s more curious denizens: the bagpiper, with his mournful tunes; the t-shirted LARPers, Game of Thronesing it up with a pair of foam swords apiece; and the hopeful sunbathers, trying by sheer force of will to make the thermometer read 70. We had no bagpipe, no foam swords. But force of will? We’ve got that to burn.

We visited our old friends, the flowers–

–and the statues by the Columbus Circle fountain.

We dined on french fries from Landmarc across the way–

–and read books by Stephen King.

For no particular reason, we fooled around with a shiny bit of mylar that caught our eyes as it glittered in the foliage.

But mostly we just reveled in the feeling that spring was finally on her way and that life was returning with her. Soon it will be properly warm, and shedding our jackets and shirts won’t require any bravery of a temperature-related variety. And we want to remind our female readers that it shouldn’t require any bravery of any other variety either — men take their tops off in the sun all the time, and it’s every woman’s legal right (in New York, at least) to do the same thing.

Would you like to join us sometime? Especially if it’s your first time exercising your equal rights, doing it with other people might be more comfortable. We welcome first timers and old hands, the eager and the nervous alike. (Trust us, we’re not all equally bold. But we do all like to feel the sun on our chest.)

If you’re an open-minded, body-positive woman, we’d love to hear from you — email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and we’ll find the sunny spot, and the taste of freedom, that’s right for you.

IMG_7613Yes, it’s November — yes, Thanksgiving is on the horizon — yes, Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat. Yes, yes, yes. But that doesn’t mean there’s no chance of warm weather. It’s statistically unlikely, but if you’ve been doing what we’ve been doing for as long as we’ve been doing it, you’ve seen some warm November days. Even warm December days. Not this year, so far. But it has happened. Photographic evidence provided here.

IMG_7561IMG_7557IMG_7594IMG_3373IMG_7568Will 2018 give us any? Who knows. If so, we’ll grab them. But if not, we at least have these memories to warm ourselves by.

IMG_8745IMG_8717IMG_8804IMG_8765IMG_8726And thank you for voting yesterday.

Warmer days are ahead.

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IMG_4411Enough pussyfooting around.

If you care about freedom (and what are you doing on this site if you don’t?), if you care about women’s rights and equal rights, if you care about driving racism and hatred back under the rocks they’ve been crawling out from, if you’re of legal age and a U.S. citizen and entitled to cast a vote in tomorrow’s elections — do it. No excuses. No bullshit. We’re all busy. We’re all disappointed with the options. Doesn’t matter. Go out and vote like your life depends on it, because it quite literally might.

0911-bWe’re not big on symbols, and when you see red, white, and blue around us it’s more likely to be random than intentional.

IMG_7423IMG_6225Or done in a spirit of fun.

IMG950323But these are not fun times we’re in. Sometimes an election really matters, and this is one of those times. Protecting our country from the gruesome excesses and cruelties of those in power matters. And we’re asking you to stand up for what matters. Especially when all you have to do to take this particular stand is find your polling place, and pull a lever.

cp3-xIt’s time to balance all the red and white in this country with a little bit more blue.

Don’t let us down.

0822-zw

 

 

 

It’s wintry and wet out now, and in the days leading up to the election there have been eruptions of hatred and violence and cruelty. It’s hard to remember sometimes that this year has had good times in it too. It’s important to take a moment to remember warmer, happier days, outdoors and in.

Sweater2The summer will come again.

IMG_7105IMG_5590IMG_4499IMG_2386IMG_1205In the meantime, go out and vote, goddamn it.

IMG_4470For any color hat other than red.

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IMG_8324Okay, so it’s now officially Fall. Autumn. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. (Thank you, John Keats.) But we’re not quite ready yet to put away the things of summer, Keats or no Keats.

Yes, it’s getting dark earlier, and the mists are a real thing (it’s been overcast and drizzly and gray gray gray), but the temperature still periodically peeks up into the 70s, even tiptoeing toward 80 on occasion, and on one recent Monday afternoon we headed out to one of our favorite little lawns in Central Park for some proper R&R (reading and relaxation).

IMG_7889IMG_7898We were joined by a couple of first-timers —

IMG_7787–and an art photographer who used this marvelous old-style camera to capture the beautiful autumnal light on the grass and the leaves. (And on us.)

IMG_7996We were also joined by a marvelous fashion designer who brought a piece of custom lingerie she made in the classic pulp fiction style of a 1940s film noir femme fatale, so of course we had to try that on.

IMG_8295IMG_8178And then there was time spent petting a total stranger’s adorable dog.

IMG_8342Throughout all this (well, all but the lingerie part) we were blissfully bare from the waist up, drinking in those precious last rays,

IMG_8048…aware that it’s sweater weather now more days than not, and soon will be winter-coat-and-snowboots weather. On days like this, we treasure not just the legal right to go topless but also the waning proximity to the sun that gives us the privilege.

IMG_7785cIMG_7960What will we do in October, November, December? You’ll find us indoors — as always, we have some fun notions for places to go naked when it’s too cold outside. But that’s tomorrow. Today was sun, today was grass, today was nature. We feel fortunate to have had the chance. And perhaps, if the weather cooperates, it might not even be the very last chance of the year.

If you’d like to join us sometime — outdoors or in, this year or next — and you’re a body-positive woman in the New York area, drop us a note: toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com. We’d love to hear from you and to meet you.

Maybe even in our secret garden.

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IMG_9959Our group’s name notwithstanding, we read all sorts of books, not just pulp fiction. (Not even just fiction.) But when we do read pulp fiction, it’s often from a line called Hard Case Crime, which was founded by a friend of our group who kindly gives us advance peeks into what they’re going to be publishing months and months before anyone else gets to see.

IMG_1708IMG_1765IMG_5166IMG_3593This summer, that meant getting an early look at a first novel called Charlesgate Confidential by film critic Scott Von Doviak. And what a great read it is. An art heist in 1946 leads to a hunt for the missing art in 1986 and then to a series of murders related to the still missing art in the present day, and it’s all woven together in a twisty, satisfying way, all over Boston (even though we read it all over New York).

IMG_4059IMG_7788IMG_1724IMG_7785IMG_7623IMG_7680And we’d offer to lend you one of our ragged, dog-eared copies,

IMG_0074except now we don’t have to because this coming Tuesday the book’s finally being published and you’ll be able to get a copy for yourself!

IMG_9929We don’t generally shill for books, even ones published by our friends, but this one is pretty terrific. Don’t believe us? Here’s what a random guy named Stephen King said about it on Twitter back in June: “Get this book, campers. It’s a fun machine…the white-knuckle kind.”

How did Stephen King get his hands on a copy? Are we saying that Stephen King came to one of our events and stole one of our precious copies of Charlesgate Confidential?? We are so, so, so totally not saying that. Because it wouldn’t be true.

But we do love us some Stephen King too. 🙂

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