Archives for category: pool

IMG_2710Who was it that decided the 5th of July would be “Read Naked Day“? The geniuses behind the Naked Girls Reading performances, it seems, and god bless them for it, even if segregating just one three-hundred-sixth-fifth of the calendar for naked reading feels pretty parsimonious to us. Still, better one day than no days, and if that’s what it takes to get Muggles to try wizarding for the first time…

So: we joined in the celebration. How? Well, late, for one thing. We were a day late for Read Naked Day and two for Independence Day, but we had books and an American flag and no clothes, so fuck it. It was a celebration. And lest you think it was merely a double holiday, yesterday was also the birthday of one of our long-time members, making it three, three, three holidays in one.

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We hit our favorite rooftop sundeck, got as naked as naked can get, and read the diaries of Frida Khalo, the instructive Playing the Whore, the equally instructive(?) annotated Lolita, the brilliant new fantasy Uprooted, the just-out-in-bookstores So Nude, So Dead, and the coming-in-September The Girl With the Deep Blue Eyes. All excellent reads for a balmy summer day.

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We also had a variety of intoxicants on hand, not least the presence of so many beautiful friends and so little fabric separating us from them.

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So we basically spent the whole afternoon high — on life, on sun and summer, on words and ideas, on the sheer physical pleasure of inhabiting our bodies. And okay, on vodka and proseco.

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None of us wanted to put our clothes back on, and some of us lingered well into the evening. But gravity eventually pulled us back to earth again, as gravity will. (Damn you Isaac Newton! Couldn’t that apple have held on just a bit longer?)

But we’ll always have our memories. And thanks to Monsieur Daguerre and his marvelous invention, you now have them as well.

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IMG_8353A few weeks back, we put up a blog post lamenting that no hotel with a rooftop pool had the courage (or the brains, or the heart, to get all Wizard of Oz about it) to let us use their pool topless, even though it’s legal for women to go topless anywhere in New York a man can, and all these hotels of course let men use their pools topless.

Well, we had one last hotel to try, the Dream Downtown, and god bless them, they said yes without the slightest hesitation. We asked several times, to make sure we’d heard correctly. Topless sunbathing is allowed? Yes. By women? Yes. We won’t get there and mortifyingly be told to put our tops back on my some staffer who hadn’t read the memo…? No.

So we went. Rented one of their two poolside cabanas, laid out our favorite reading material, dispensed with our tops, and…nothing. Better than that, actually: the staff all made us feel at home and welcome, interacted with us warmly and supportively, and assured us that we weren’t the first to enjoy this liberty there (though we may have been the biggest group to do so at one time). Other patrons using the pool or the adjacent restaurant seemed either oblivious or amused. No one seemed the slightest bit troubled, much less offended. The afternoon passed blissfully; we can’t remember a happier one. We only wished, as we emerged from the heated pool into air the temperature of autumn, that we’d discovered this grand hotel sooner.

You better believe we’ll be back next summer.

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IMG_7707We had a notion that some hotel in New York City — where after all it is legal for women to go topless anywhere a man can, and has been legal for more than 20 years — might be willing to let us use their rooftop swimming pool sometime, side by side with all their topless male guests. We offered to rent hotel rooms so we’d be guests too. But no: they were all terrified to allow bare-chested women on the same roof as bare-chested men.

“This group seems incredible – and very fun!” wrote a representative of the Empire Hotel. But: “Because this is a private space (with food and families) – we require our guests to wear tops. So I am not sure that we would be the best fit for you. Thank you for understanding.” Yes, of course we understand: food, after all. Our bare breasts (unlike men’s bare breasts) will tend to cause milk to sour and meat to spoil and other food to go bad in other mysterious ways. And families! Individual, separate men, women and children can bear exposure to female mammary tissue, but a family, no, a family will explode like popcorn on a hot stove if you wave a nipple in its direction. A woman’s nipple, that is. A man’s nipple, no problem. (True, he wrote “we require our guests to wear tops,” not distinguishing between women and men — but we have a feeling he meant they require this of their female guests. If they required it of their male guests as well it would be a rare swimming pool indeed.)

Jenny Morales of the Gansevoort Hotel wrote, “You’re more than welcome to join us as hotel guests and access the pool, however being that this is family friendly hotel, going topless would not be an option.” Oh, don’t we know it! We have tried and tried to train our breasts not to be so unfriendly to families, but they’re just incorrigible.

Nicolas Oliveira of the Hotel Americano wrote, “We are supporters when it comes to topless sunbathing and as you said, our Hotel does have international flavor. We choose to be neutral at our pool since at the end of the day we are a Hotel and we need to cater to Hotel Guests first. We do not believe that it will have a negative reaction when it comes to our Hotel Guests, but we also do not want to risk anything because we are a Hotel and our guests are our biggest supporters.” We are still trying to untangle that one. But it sounds like “We choose to be neutral at our pool” means “Please, please, please don’t come.”

Well, Nicolas and Jenny and Unnamed Representative — so be it. Your pools, your rules. But it’s a pity that none of you are willing to stand up to mindless conservatism, to fear and shame. Because what terrible thing are we really talking about here? A dozen happy women enjoying the sun with a little less rather than a little more fabric on. Relaxing, reading, tanning — nothing more, nothing worse. Unless you’re all secretly in the fabric industry and afraid your swimsuit concessions will plunge in value, we really can’t comprehend the danger we represent. Just take a look at these photos and tell us — would this really have hurt you so badly? So badly that you were willing to turn away hundreds of dollars in revenue — maybe hundreds per person — just to keep it from happening…?

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And to the enlightened folk at the Colonial Park Inn (where all these photos were taken, after we gave up on our search for a real pool we could use) we say: thank you. We always feel welcome with you. Your pool may be small, and it may be inflatable, and it may not allow us to swim laps or practice the back float, but at least we can ditch the swimsuits. Which is the best way to enjoy a pool.

And get this, you’re not only comfortable with breasts, you’re even okay with vaginas! And penises!

God bless you, Colonial House. God bless you.

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IMG_6080The Fourth of July is always a birthday celebration, but this year it was doubly so for us, since one of our members was celebrating her birthday over the same weekend. We took over the roof deck at our favorite Chelsea hotel, blew up the inflatable pool, brought some red, white, and blue mini-cupcakes from Baked By Melissa, and held a joyful double celebration that wound up being our best attended ever. A few timid first-timers asked not to have their photos blogged, so you won’t see them here, but rest assured that everyone was blissfully and un-self-consciously bared beneath the sun. (Yes, our birthday girl celebrated in her birthday suit, and isn’t that the way it should always be?)

As a reminder, if you’d like to join us for one of our events sometime and you’re an open-minded, free-thinking, body-positive woman whose favorite things include reading books and being naked, just drop us a note at toplesspulpfiction[AT]gmail[DOT]com. We’ll be very glad to hear from you.

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IMG_5556Some of us live in Bushwick, some in Greenpoint, some in Ridgewood (NY, not NJ); a few live in Manhattan, but generally not in tony Upper West Side digs. A conversation at our last event involved one member exulting over having recently gotten 28 books for $23 at The Strand.

But a love of personal freedom, and of wearing less clothing when it’s 90 degrees outside, knows no socioeconomic bounds, and this past Saturday one of our members invited us to her penthouse apartment, complete with 3,000 square foot sundeck.  (Sundeck? At 3,000 square feet, let’s call it what it is, a whole second apartment.)

And it was a perfect day for it: clear and bright and sunny, but with clouds scudding across the sun just often enough to keep you from feeling achingly hot. We had close to two dozen people show up, including some old-timers, some first-timers, and everything in between. We had a barbecue grill turning out mouth-watering morsels (thank you, Fresh Direct), and we had a blow-up wading pool big enough to hold eight or nine of us at once. We had copies of Aristotle and The Master and Margarita, Carl Hiaasen and Agatha Christie, Nicholas Sparks and Dan Brown. Plus comics — one of Eric Shanower’s Oz adaptations and, thanks to Craig Yoe, the gorgeous hardcover collection Jack Cole’s Deadly Horror.

But most of all we had the sublime pleasure of lounging around under the sun in as little or as much clothing as we felt like (which for most of us meant nothing at all). And why not? Who did it hurt? We know there are some people who would wag a finger at us and talk sternly about morality, but aren’t they the same people who think things were better back in the Garden of Eden?

Well, postlapsarian we might be, but this Saturday we made ourselves a little Eden. How do you like them apples?

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IMG_2809For good friends, and good food, and good times.

For good books.

For good weather, that allowed us to meet 24 times this year (so far!).

For living in a city where our bodies are not objects of ridicule or fear or shame in the eyes of the law.

For the thousands of people who’ve seen us lying  bare-chested in the park and gone on with their days, untroubled.

For the people who’ve come to this blog 7,561,724 times, from places as far away as the Republic of Kiribati and Tonga and Samoa and, yes, one time, we are not making this up, Vatican City.

For all your emails and Facebook messages and tweets in support of what we’re doing.

For the 83-year-old woman who sat with us for an hour, and for her poodle, and for the delight they both clearly felt.

For you, whoever you are out there, for being part of our adventure.

Happy Holidays, friends.

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IMG_2778aWhen morn in late September sunlit dawns, 
Presentiments of autumn nowhere seen,
Nor wintry breezes, nor the touch of rain 
That lately has defiled so many days,

And in its stead the warm caress of air 
As temperate and all-embracing as 
At summer’s peak, but with a plangent strain
For well we know its like won’t come again

For many months, we take ourselves outdoors 
And share with friends of vintage old and new 
A draft of vineyard’s fine fermented crop
And orchard’s too, together with a feast

Unmatched in time’s remembrance; yea, we glut
Ourselves on flavors fair and, fairer still, 
The gentle hand of Helios on our all-
Unburdened bodies; thus we meet the end

Of summer’s season with defiant mien.
You say tomorrow beckons, cold and drear,
And well you might; but for today we play
In summer’s final bounty of delight.

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