Archives for category: park

IMG_0373Shape.com, the website of Shape Magazine, just ran a lovely article about us. You can see it here.

They interviewed two of our members who spoke eloquently about their experiences with the group and why we do what we do. Strangely, though, they didn’t include images of either of those members in the article. Nor did they show any photos of, you know, bare breasts.

We’re happy to rectify that oversight.

IMG_7462And we welcome any Shape.com readers who found their way here through that site. If you’re a body-positive woman in the New York area and you’d like to take part in one of our events — or even if you’re just curious — we’d love to hear from you. You can reach us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com.

IMG_2650Going topless is healthy; going topless is liberating; and in New York, going topless is legal. Won’t you join us?

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IMG_2556fUsually we meet as a group: we choose a day, head to a park or plaza, and hang out topless in the sun together. Safety in numbers, and also it’s more fun to hang out in the park with friends than by yourself. But sometimes there’s no one else around and you just feel like heading out for a walk on your own.

IMG_1789fA case in point was the recent rainy morning you see here. It wound up being bright and sunny in the afternoon, but you wouldn’t have guessed by the way the wet stuff was pouring down in torrents during morning rush hour. But that’s what raincoats and umbrellas are made for, and if you’re thinking, “How can you wear a raincoat and go topless at the same time?”, you clearly haven’t found the right raincoat.

IMG_1863feIMG_2107fThe morning’s stroll took us along the Upper East side, past stores and storied apartment buildings–

IMG_1327e–and on to Carl Schurz Park, home to some of the finest dog runs in Manhattan…

IMG_2322f…a beautiful riverside promenade…

IMG_2390fIMG_2501fIMG_2601f…and Gracie Mansion, where the mayor lives. (Didn’t snap any photos there. Next time.)

This seems finally to have been the end of warm weather for the season — it’s brisk and chilly now and seems likely to remain so until the Spring. If so, we’re doubly glad we took advantage of the warm weather while it lasted, even if doing so meant braving the elements.

IMG_2272fNext time — indoors! And we have many exciting indoor events planned. If you’re curious about them and you’re a body positive woman in the New York area, we’d love to hear from you. Just drop a note to toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and tell us a little about yourself. We’ll be glad to invite you to join us for our adventures.

Not that it isn’t fun doing it solo, too…

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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_9878A week ago, we were told that the mini-documentary about us that was filmed back in June by the folks at 60-Second Docs wouldn’t actually air until November — the day after Thanksgiving, to be specific. Well, our holidays came early: we got word that the documentary is actually going live online today!

You can watch it here.

IMG_9870We’re pleased with how it came out, and we’re hopeful that it might inspire women not just in New York but all over world, either to take advantage of their equal rights if the law is already egalitarian where they live (as it is here in New York) or else to mobilize to change the law, if it unfairly prohibits female toplessness but allows men to bare their chests.

IMG_9802If you are here in New York, you don’t have to wait for next summer to go topless outdoors — it was in the 80s last week and is supposed to be in the high 70s again this week. Just email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and we’ll let you know when we’re holding our next event.

For example: We took advantage of the recent warm weather by visiting the northern end of Central Park, where we climbed rocks–

IMG_8466IMG_8492Arm-wrestled–

IMG_8330fIMG_8339fRelaxed in the shade of a parasol–

IMG_8215fIMG_8189fIMG_8130fAnd napped in the sun.

IMG_8232Wouldn’t you enjoy celebrating this rare temperate October bare-breasted in nature along with us?

IMG_8158Come — before it’s winter and we’re all wearing down parkas. Toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com.

Because every woman deserves to feel the sun on her nipples.

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IMG_9106Are we better known for reading traditional words-on-paper books than comic books and graphic novels? Probably. But since our group’s founding we’ve always had some comics in the mix too, and our comics-loving members are passionate indeed on the subject. So it’s maybe a bit surprising that until now we’ve never taken the time to visit Comic Con.

UPG-Comic Con_10062017_Gary Jean-Juste1 (15)Except for one thing — in New York, Comic Con comes in October, and October is usually too cold for outdoor toplessness. But not this year! This year it was 83 degrees on the con’s opening day, so several of us made our way to the lawn nearest to the convention center to get into our best cosplay gear.

IMG_8541IMG_8695The convention center itself has rules against toplessness, and we didn’t especially feel like fighting them (even though we would’ve been in the right), but there’s certainly nothing to stop a half dozen women dressed as superheroes, unicorns, anime characters, or some unholy combination of all three from leaving their tops off to better enjoy the breeze off the Hudson River.

IMG_8817IMG_8791IMG_8961One of our cosplayers drew her inspiration from Dark Phoenix…

IMG_9025FFP-Comic Con_10062017_Gary Jean-Juste1 (5)SKB-Comic Con_10062017_Gary Jean-Juste1 (1)…while others drew theirs from realms unknown.

IMG_8655(There was a brief moment when one of us was almost going to go for a topless rendition of Joy from Pixar’s Inside Out, but that somehow felt wrong and modifications were made.)

IMG_8864There is something doubly liberating about being half naked and half costumed — it’s twice the chance to show you’re not afraid or ashamed of who you are.

IMG_8763Now we’re wondering whether it’ll be this warm, still, when Halloween rolls around?

Maybe. Maybe. We’re thinking about what we might do. And if you think you might enjoy being part of it…? Drop us a note: toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com. All women are welcome, whether you’re already comfortable topless in the great outdoors or you’re nervous about your first time.

Remember: you can always wear a mask. 🙂

IMG_9034BBM-Comic Con_10062017_Gary Jean-Juste2 (4)[NOTE: Special thanks to photographer Gary Jean-Juste for some of these terrific pictures!]

 

IMG_7805Back in June, we visited Madison Square Park together with a videographer from an outfit called 60-Second Docs, an organization that makes minute-long documentaries about people and groups they find interesting.

IMG_9878They found us interesting, apparently, and shot a bunch of footage of us hanging out and talking about what we do.

IMG_0011You’d think a minute-long documentary wouldn’t take very long to cut together, but…with one thing and another, it has, and they’re now telling us it’ll finally run on November 24. That’s right — the day after Thanksgiving. Well, it’s something to look forward to, anyway. Even if, at that time of year, no one who sees it and gets inspired is likely to rush outside shirtless. Unless we have a much warmer November than we’re used to.

120312-dBut it’ll come when it comes. In the meantime, getting word of the release date for the video inspired us to take another visit to Madison Square Park ourselves while it’s still warm enough to do so.

IMG_7701Flowers were still in full bloom, along with art projects such as this set of signs expounding on the subject of love.

IMG_7615IMG_7603(Interestingly a park ranger came over to us and we thought, “Oh, here we go again,” but he only wanted to know who put the signs in the ground. We told him we had no idea — they weren’t ours. So he called it in: unauthorized art activity on park grounds! But topless women on the grass? No problem.)

IMG_7675We brought our favorite mini-eclairs and other pastries from the eponymous Eclair bakery. (How’s that for an SAT word? Eponymous. Scrabble champs, we.)

IMG_7654We also brought books, such as this one and this one and this one.

IMG_7683What else did we bring? A keen awareness that the summer’s gone, its last remnants fleeting. We won’t have too many more park days this year, not with October muscling its way into the room tomorrow.

IMG_7780So we drank deep of September and toasted her imminent passing. We received a visit from a squirrel who industriously buried a nut under the wheel of one member’s chair and then hightailed it away. You don’t get  more autumnal than that.

IMG_7713IMG_7715We also received visits from two parents of breastfeeding children, who looked on the profusion of nipples like an autumn cornucopia. (Or an all-you-can-eat buffet?)

IMG_7733IMG_7761And we spent some time brainstorming intriguing indoor activities for when the cold weather comes. We came up with some good ones, too! But you’ll just have to wait and see to find out what they were.

Or…

If you’re a curious, brave, body-positive woman and would like to find out before the fact rather than after — if you’d like to take part in the fun — you can. Just drop us a note at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com. The warm weather may be almost gone, but the fun will go on.

IMG_7817IMG_7821IMG_7828Even the day after Thanksgiving.

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IMG_7059Back in May — four months ago now — one of our favorite websites, Jezebel, came to an event we held in Central Park, to film a video piece about our group and the 25th anniversary of the legal decision that established that women in New York have the same right to go topless in public places that men do.

IMG_6608IMG_6612IMG_6553A few days later, they joined us a second time, to film some more footage, this time of one of our members stopping random strangers in Central Park and talking with them about toplessness and equal rights.

IMG_7103IMG_7111IMG_7126IMG_7120Our hope was to see the video run sometime around the anniversary, which was in July.

IMG_7183If you don’t remember ever seeing that video, it’s not your memory that’s at fault. June came and went; the anniversary came and went; August came and went; and now it’s mid-September, and still no video. It’s also not the fault of the excellent videographer who shot and edited the piece, Phoebe Bradford — but for some reason the piece just hasn’t run. Why? We don’t know.

IMG_6513Is it because they didn’t get any footage worth running? Probably not; as recently as August 9, Phoebe wrote, “Excited for the piece to come out!” The only explanation she mentioned for the continuing delay was some concern on the part of Jezebel’s lawyers about not having written releases from every single person they’d filmed. Of course, we wouldn’t have given the interviews in the first place if we didn’t want them used — it’s not like we didn’t know we had a camera pointed at us. (Plus, we were out in a public place! The middle of Central Park!) And we were never asked to sign releases when the New York Times produced a video about us, or either of the times that Salon did. In principle we’d be willing to sign releases this time, but they didn’t ask us to back in May, and by now some of the people they filmed back in May are unreachable — they’re traveling, have gone back to school, have moved or changed email addresses, etc. Some we can contact, some we can’t. But everyone who stood up in front of a camera and spoke for sure intended for the interview to be used. Thinking otherwise is simply bizarre.

IMG_7090So we remain hopeful that Jezebel will eventually let you watch the piece Phoebe shot and edited, and that we gladly participated in. If they don’t want to run it themselves, we hope they’ll share the footage with us so that, if nothing else, we can run it here, on our own site. But until they do one or the other — and there’s no guarantee they’ll do either — we thought we’d at least finally show you some photos we took at these events, and give you a taste of the video that might have been.

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There were not only interviews with us and ones conducted by us, but also a game of topless frisbee!

IMG_7153IMG_7155IMG_7165Now, what sort of cold-hearted villain could possibly capture that on film and not release it…?

Lawyers. That’s who.

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