Archives for category: park

The temperature is in the 50s and dropping — next Sunday, the low is supposed to be 40. On top of that, it’s raining, the Duane Reade down the block is advertising Halloween specials, and all in all it just feels like summer ended a million years ago.

But it didn’t. Less than 3 weeks ago it was 90 degrees in New York City — only for one afternoon, true, but it was in the 80s for longer, and even when it dropped into the 70s it was still quite comfortable to be topless outdoors. So for the past several weeks we’ve been enjoying a valedictory lap around the parks of Manhattan, conscious that it was our last chance to enjoy them before the cold properly set in and the only thing getting denuded in the park would be the trees.

We started up at the north end of Central Park, which is like the upper reaches of the Himalayas in the sense that tourists never go that high, so you’ve basically got the place to yourself. There’s a meadow we like to use, which is secluded enough even at the height of summer and basically empty when fall rolls around. You can stand on your head with nothing on but a thong and no one sees, no one cares, no one says a word.

You can also gather with twenty of your closest friends and enjoy the feeling of the sun on your skin,

…secure in the knowledge not only that what you’re doing is completely legal (it’s been legal for 27 years for women to go topless anywhere in New York a man can) but also that, even if someone does pass by and see, it won’t raise any eyebrows. This is New York. Upper Manhattan. People see stranger things in this neighborhood than a girl with her titties out.

So we got our titties out.

And lo and behold, no one cared. Why can’t everywhere be like this? We had a few boys in the group this time, and our barechestedness drew as little attention as theirs — including from them.

We were able to read in peace,

and even get some schoolwork done.

Practice some asanas,

and our sk8r grl moves.

Show off ink and body jewelry,

and our selective adoption of undergarments.

Have a nosh al fresco,

and just lie back and daydream.

Even when we left the park, a few of us kept up the spirit of liberty that had animated our afternoon.

And why not? Why shouldn’t women be as free to walk down the street shirtless as men?

Nothing but cold weather should make us put more clothes on. And even then, we find all sorts of fun things to do naked indoors! But that’s a subject for another post — a whole winter’s worth of posts, in fact. For now, we’re going to remember the summer as it was at the very end: sweet and warm and free and fabulous.

We love our animal companions as much as our human friends. More, sometimes. But we don’t often bring them with us to our events. Once, a puppy named Charlie made an appearance, but that was years ago and he hasn’t shown his little canine head since.

But with fall rearing its head, we made a visit to Sheep Meadow in Central Park, and this time one of our members brought her cat with her. And said cat was a hit with one and all.

We were even joined by a male partner at one point, and he helped, uh… Oh, fuck it: he helped take care of our pussy. There. We have the sense of humor of a ninth grader. Are you happy now?

It’s not like our cat was the only new member making a debut. Even this late in the season, a number of first-timers made this their inaugural event, some of them going topless in a public place for the first time ever…

…some full-time nudists and proud of it.

Happily, Sheep Meadow is one of the most tranquil, beautiful, charming spots in the entire city and embodies the live-and-let-live attitude we both benefit from and encourage.

So what if five or ten women are enjoying the afternoon without shirts on? Nothing noteworthy about that. Now, if one of them has tattoos that reference deep-cut Disney fare like The Emperor’s New Groove and Hercules

We had more than our share of interesting, beautiful ink this time, come to think of it.

But even that didn’t draw stares in particular. And the lack of stares or comment helped make the afternoon deeply satisfying. As did the bonding among our little troupe. There’s something about being naked together that just turns strangers into family.

Improbably, with the summer just a memory, it’s still warm out. Probably not for much longer — it’s October this week, for heaven’s sake. But this Wednesday, the temperature is supposed to reach almost 90 degrees. So we’re planning to hold at least one more outdoor event, and as you can see, we welcome first-timers, no matter how late in the year. Would you like to join us? Just email toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com or message us on Insta (@topless.pulp) or Twitter (@ToplessPulp).

You’re welcome to bring your cat, your dog, your bird, your ferret, your chinchilla, your bearded dragon.

And if you don’t have one, just bring your pussy.

Yesterday our little group turned 25.

Years? No. We started meeting in August 2011, which makes us a bit over 8 years old. By that accounting we’re not even in our teens, never mind our 20s.

But there’s another way to measure our growth, and that’s how many people we’ve reached, and how many times we’ve reached them. And by that metric, around noon yesterday, New York time, we turned 25: this blog we created 8 years ago has now been seen 25 million times.

25 million!

It’s a number you can’t even properly hold in your head. If you grew up in a small town or a small city (or even a small country!), you didn’t have 25 million people to call your neighbors. Even if you’re a New York native, it’s more than the number of your fellow New Yorkers. 25 million gumballs outweigh the Statue of Liberty. 25 million subway cars would stretch from here to the moon.

And yet that’s the number of times people have come to this site and seen one of our photos or read our words, discovered what freedom looks like and sounds like, what a woman exercising her equal rights is like.

For our first event all those years and views ago, we went shirtless in Central Park, so we were very pleased to be able to commemorate this milestone with a report about a return visit. Not to Sheep Meadow this time, but to a quiet lawn on the east side, where passers-by stroll and strollers pass by,

where four-legged companions are welcome,

and two-legged companions too.

Where you can discover the sense of style you share with a total stranger–

Where you can partake of art in all its forms, whether that’s painting–

Or photography–

Or reading–

Or writing–

Or drumming and dancing–

Or the gustatory arts,

Or the simple art of the snooze.

And you can partake of any of these artful activities with or without a top on,

Solo or in a group,

Regardless of what body parts you happen to have been born with or acquired at puberty.

It is a wonderful thing to live in a city like ours, at a time like this, to have our autonomy and equality respected. But we’re conscious of the fact that our experience is still very nearly unique in the United States and in too many other parts of the world. Yes, you can go topless or even fully nude on select beaches throughout Europe and the Caribbean, and that’s a wonderful thing. But how many places offer true equality?

We relish the thought that some of the 25 million times we’ve been seen it’s been by women in those other parts of the world, where freedom isn’t as widespread — yet. Only one view once came from St. Bart’s, where a bared breast wouldn’t even raise an eyebrow, but 6 came from Vatican City — and hundreds of thousands came from Russia and China, tens of thousands more from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, and the rest of the Middle East. We like to know that we’re providing a model of free expression and female liberation to places that lack it.

And even in our own back yard, we like to know we’re opening eyes and minds.

Of course, winter is on the horizon, so for this year our balmy days of sunbathing in Central Park are numbered. But even that doesn’t feel so terrible when the number we’ve reached is such a triumphant one.

25 million!

We thank you all for your part in helping us achieve what we’ve achieved. And we hope if you’re a woman — whether near or far, nervous or bold — you’ll stand up and be counted along with us someday. That you’ll take that wonderful first step toward freedom.

And if you’d like to do it with us rather than alone, we’d love to welcome you to the fold. Getting started is simple: just email toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com or find us and message us at @topless.pulp on Instagram or @ToplessPulp on Twitter.

All it takes is one message, one moment of being brave. That’s how we’ve gotten here, one brave moment at a time.

Times 25 million.

Yesterday you read about how our group gathered on a lawn across from the High Line before heading up for our walk along the elevated park.

Hanging out in 14th Street Park is very different from walking the High Line — one is a quiet, serene, nearly empty patch of green in the middle of the city, a little urban oasis; the other is a tourist mecca, a narrow, constructed space with literally thousands of people walking through it at any given time. It’s a different sort of experience (motion rather than stillness, sound rather than silence, lots of contact with strangers rather than next to none), and not everyone in our group was up for braving it. So as we went from the park to the street outside…

…and from the street up onto the High Line itself–

Some of our members peeled off, leaving only a core group to walk the walk.

What is the High Line? It used to be a set of elevated train tracks used by freight trains to get goods to and from the Meatpacking District back when meat was actually packed there. Abandoned for years, the tracks got resurrected as a park by some urban developers who realized they could be made unique and gorgeous and turned into a site for pleasant strolls and sun-swept relaxation. And you know how we love our relaxation.

So we’ve been coming to the High Line from our group’s earliest days, before the whole thing was even done being rebuilt. One of our photos from those days was even chosen by the High Line for inclusion in the fancy coffee table art book they put out to celebrate their creation:

Now the rebuilding is done, and the High Line offers a delicious variety of intriguing and photogenic spaces.

Open stretches and covered ones —

Scenic overlooks —

Spots graced by views of the city’s newest grand public sculpture —

Speaking of which, it’s possible to accidentally walk off the High Line (a public park) and onto a private plaza owned and run by the new Hudson Yards property barons. We know it’s possible because we did it! And got politely (well, sort of politely) ushered back off the private plaza by a security guard who kept trying to get us to be sympathetic to him. (He seemed to think if he didn’t chase us off it would cost him his job. Who knows? Maybe that’s even true.)

But the High Line itself is public and public in the very best way — meaning free for anyone to walk any time, with or without a shirt on, whether you’re a woman or a man. We were thrilled to visit our old haunt again and to feel as welcome as ever.

What came next? Well after the heat of the day and the effort of the walk, we were ready for something cool. Fortunately, there was an ice cream truck waiting at the exit — run by a wonderful woman from Greece, no stranger to topless sunbathing herself. 🙂

From there we had another long walk before us — at street level this time, from the far west side to midtown, where we could hop a subway. How did that stroll differ from our walk on the High Line? Find out in Part III of our report — coming later this week.

We’ve been visiting the High Line before the High Line was even finished being built.

This year was the first time we got to see the whole thing, all the way to the endpoint on West 34th Street, capped by that grand new work of public sculpture nicknamed (actually named?) “The Vessel.”

It was quite an adventure, and we’re going to write about it in three separate posts this week, to give you a feeling for the whole afternoon. Which began with us gathering near the entrance to the High Line at 14th Street and Tenth Avenue, where there’s a convenient little park called (uncreatively enough) “14th Street Park.”

It’s barely a park at all, really. One square block of concrete paving with a single circular grassy hillock in the center. (Does it even count as a hillock? It barely rises at all in the center. Really it’s just a flat grassy circle. Is it even a circle or an ellipse? These are the questions we wonder about. We read a lot, and we like getting these things right.)

Anyway, we gathered, and we did it on the grass in 14th Street Park. First just a couple of us, then a handful, then a gaggle, then a pack.

Well, what group noun would you use for a group of topless women? It’s a “dazzle” of zebras, which doesn’t seem fair somehow — why can’t we have that one? A “convocation” of eagles, a “parliament” of owls, a “quiver” of cobras. A “murmuration” of starlings. Well, we murmured, we convoked. We probably quivered a bit. We like to think maybe we dazzled. But mostly we just relaxed, enjoying the sun and the breeze and each others’ excellent company.

That’s it — a “relaxation” of topless women.

Our relaxation held onto the park long enough that total strangers around us took notice and found enough comfort or curiosity to join in. This woman from Atlanta by way of Texas walked up to us, asked a few questions, and before long was sitting in our circle, and before much longer had her breasts bared in solidarity and joy.

Two women from Colombia went topless but stayed face down or held their shirts over their chests, saying they worked nearby and didn’t want to chance their employers seeing them out the window of their office building. Fair enough. But they took our info and promised to go properly top-free when we next meet in some other neighborhood. And another woman went down to just the thongiest of thongs. We felt our influence was doing some good.

Our meet-up included some first-timers, most of whom discovered us over Instagram. (In the last month alone 564 women in NYC have told us over Insta that they’d like to join us! We welcome every last one.)

We also had some second- and third-timers from events earlier this summer–

–and some old friends, back again from earlier High Line visits.

While waiting for all these folks to show up, we had books to occupy us…

…and snacks (these chips are made of chicken — no, really)–

…and just getting to know each other (we did the summer camp thing of going around a circle saying our names and where we’re from and was this our first time, etc.).

And when that ran out of steam, we got ourselves up off the grass,

headed toward the exit,

and out onto the street.

What came next? The High Line, of course — and you’ll see more of that tomorrow.

Meanwhile, if you’re a woman in NYC and think what you see in these photos looks like fun? Drop us a note. It’s easy: toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com.

You’ll be part of our relaxation in no time.

There are many parks in New York City, many even just in Manhattan, and even after eight years we haven’t been to every single one. So why do we have some spots we come back to again and again?

Because they’re special. This one was special to no less a New York City luminary than Edgar Allan Poe, who lived a few blocks away, christened the spot after his landlord’s son (or so the story goes), and came here to meditate and write his poetry. What obscure poem did he work on here? We won’t give it away, but it starts, “Once upon a midnight dreary…”

How did this location inspire a classic of gothic melancholy? You’ve got us. There’s nothing dreary about the spot, with its giant boulder, its lush foliage, its towering trees, and its views of nearby hills and paths. The Hudson River flows nearby, as does the majestic West Side Highway. (Poe missed out on the latter.)

And better than all the rest is the privacy the boulder affords, once you’ve climbed to the crest. There’s room enough for two dozen people to set out towels and take off their clothing, and as long as you’re sitting down, no one lower down in the park can see you. As a location for people coming to one of our events — and maybe also to outdoor toplessness — for the first time, it’s pretty much ideal.

So it won’t surprise you to learn that many of the people we invited this time were first-timers —

— though there were some second-timers as well, returning after enjoying our visit to Summit Rock a week or two earlier.

(Interestingly, there’s no rock at Summit Rock. At least not like there is here. See what happens when you get anyone less than an immortal poet to name locations in your park for you?)

We discovered all sorts of interesting coincidences as our new members met and made friends. Vegans met vegans, chefs met chefs, a couple of doctors met an aspiring medical student. But there was also diversity of every variety, across the spectrums of gender and age and race and body type.

We had tasty snacks and beverages —

–read everything from a weighty photo history on street art to 1984 to Joyce Carol Oates’ psychedelic riff on the Charles Manson murders, The Triumph of the Spider Monkey

–and we napped,

–and chatted,

–and smiled,

–and everyone treated everyone else with kindness, patience, respect, enthusiasm, and warmth.

Why can’t every group of people be like this? We come from all sorts of different backgrounds, different neighborhoods, different countries of origin sometimes, and yet somehow we are able to be good to each other, to be humane. To be, in a word (and notwithstanding our partial nudity), decent. It’s not hard. In fact, it feels like the easiest thing in the world. And if two dozen people who start out as total strangers to one another can do it, who says two million people can’t? Or two hundred million?

Well, one step at a time. First you climb a hill, then a boulder, then a mountain.

Would you like to join us on our quest? Show the world what freedom looks like, what equality looks like — what decency looks like — and enjoy some great times doing it? We’d love to hear from you. Email toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com or message us on Insta or Twitter at @ToplessPulp.

Because we know you rock, too.

Mostly when we meet in one of New York City’s parks we keep to the ground. But the last time we visited Central Park, there was a tree we found simply irresistible.

First, one of our organizers found her way onto its branches–

–and then several of our first-timers followed suit.

And at least one made it into the upper branches.

All this was good practice for the event we held a week later, which was on the top of a giant boulder in Riverside Park! But those photos are for another day. (Well, okay, here’s just one, to give you a taste:

For now, we’ll remember fondly our afternoon of climbing a more organic surface — and greeting this venerable tree’s bare limbs and trunk with our own.