Archives for category: pool

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…?


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.



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.


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?



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.


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.


IMG_2141Yesterday was the sixth annual “International Go Topless Day,” celebrated around the world, both in cities where female toplessness is legal (like New York) and ones where it is not yet legal, making the celebrations there more of a protest. It’s an event we support, though we don’t have the same enthusiasm for the group that started it (it’s a weird quasi-religious outfit whose beliefs involve UFOs and extraterrestrials) and though the official event in New York is often overrun by pervy guys and aggressive reporters covering the event in the laziest and most cynical ways possible. But for all its flaws, it’s fundamentally a good thing: a time when women get together and demonstrate that equality is important and that toplessness is equally reasonable for both genders.

And now that the day has passed, we’re going to go back to doing what we do, quietly and in a relaxed, natural fashion, all summer long (and spring and fall, too, weather permitting). Because in the world we choose to live in, every day is Go Topless Day.


IMG_2109We’ve been to Washington Square Park before—but not since the very first time we met, back in the summer of 2011. It was high time for another visit.

So off we went, a small band that included one current NYU student and one alum (for extra neighborhood cred), meeting up by the famous arch and baking a while on the grass before heading into the fountain for a cooling-off dip.

IMG_2175IMG_2024IMG_2027IMG_2274Has there ever been a more wonderful sensation than cool water on sun-warmed skin? It was blissful. And we’re happy to report that none of the Village denizens complained about the topless women frolicking in their midst.  (Though a few were a bit overenthusiastic, as a few always are; but that’s a topic for another post.)


The Dixieland band that was playing in the park that day, led by a topless (male) tuba player, came over to serenade us with a tuba rendition of “My Heart Will Go On,” leading us to take a stab at imitating the famous Leo/Kate prow-of-the-boat pose…


…and then someone handed us a pair of maracas, so we could play along.


Later, we got the most delicious gelato I have ever tasted, from Mario Battali’s “GelOtto” cart, and listed to visiting Australian balladeer Lachlan Cross, who was in New York on his way to Burning Man.


All in all, one of the finest summer afternoons any girl has ever had. It’s on days like this that you wish summer could go on forever…


If you don’t see any images on our blog, you can thank Reddit.

Yesterday, following a post about us on Reddit, more than 100,000 people visited our site, by far the most we’ve ever had in one 24-hour period, and this flood of traffic somehow broke something. Don’t know what. We’ve contacted WordPress to see what we need to do to fix it, but in the meantime, people viewing the site using Chrome as their browser don’t seem to see any of the pictures.  (People using Firefox do.  God only knows why.)

We don’t object to a big spike in traffic, of course; we’re delighted if more people know about us. So in the long run this is a good thing. But in the short run…our apologies.

Hopefully everything will be back to normal soon.

ETA: Everything seems to be back to normal! If you spot any problems, please let us know. Meanwhile, to celebrate the blog’s return, here’s a photo from an adventure we had this week, in Washington Square Park.


IMG_0217Thanks for all the great feedback on the brief videos we posted yesterday–our first ever. But still photography is still our preferred form of visual art, just like physical printed books are our preference over the e- variety.  We just like the classic ways of doing things. (If we had the patience to shoot daguerrotypes, we would.)

Which is kind of funny when you think about it, since when it comes to social mores, we’re rather forward thinking. But there you have it: yesterday’s technology, tomorrow’s morals.

Next week: clay tablets and public orgasms.


IMG_9479It feels like it’s been summer for a while now, with high temperatures and plenty of sun; but in fact summer didn’t kick off in all its formal summery glory until June 21. And what’s the first day of summer without red velvet cupcakes and fresh marshmallows, cool drinks and an icy wading pool, and well-thumbed copies of the last century’s finest works of imaginative literature? Boring, that’s what. And we may be many things at the Outdoor Co-Ed Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society, but we are not boring.

So out came Bram Stoker (DRACULA) and Stephen King (his latest, JOYLAND); out came GAME OF THRONES and THE WHEEL OF TIME; out came Patricia Briggs and James M. Cain; and for good measure, Harold Evans’ memoir about his newspaper days.  (You say memoirs are not imaginative literature? How adorable.)

Then off came the clothing and on went the sunscreen (some spray-on self-tanner, too, mostly for amusement value).  Some of us sported nipple jewelry. Two of us brought heart-shaped Lolita sunglasses (not, strictly speaking, a literary reference since they go back to the Kubrick film, but what the heck). A few stylish swimsuit bottoms made an appearance, but most of us wore nothing we hadn’t been born with. And why not?  Our home away from home, the Colonial House Inn, offers Manhattan’s only officially clothing-optional sundeck, and when given the option of wearing clothes or not, we tend to opt out.

Next time, it’s back to the streets of the city, teeming with humanity, or the green rolling hills of the city’s parks, and we’ll remain clothed from the waist down as the law demands. But for the first day of summer we gave ourselves a special treat, and on the possibility that a photographic record of our afternoon will be a special summer treat for you, we offer this brief portfolio.