Archives for category: roof

After our last rooftop event, where only three people came, we weren’t sure what to expect the next time we put out an invitation. But we guess the timing gods were smiling on us, because the weather was just perfect and lots of people were longing to get naked.

Now, a word or two about health matters: there’s obviously still a pandemic on, and we all want to be careful about our health and the health of people around us. Some people who came kept masks on the whole time, or most of the time.

Some stayed on the screened-off north side of the roof where there was more than 6 feet of separation between each lounge chair and the next.

Some who went maskless and hung out closer than 6 feet were from the same household, so that’s not an issue (or not more of an issue than it is the other 20+ hours of the day they’re together).

And of course the event didn’t get truly full until a couple of hours in — before that people were well spread out. And being outdoors reduces the risk of transmission pretty dramatically. But having said all that, at the event’s busiest, some people were probably sitting closer than they should have been. Happily, it’s been more than 2 weeks, and no one got sick. So, whew.

The flip side of the greater number of people who were there is the enormous sense of community and warmth and kindness and simple human contact that everyone felt. It meant so much to a group of people who have been starved of all of the above for months.

Just seeing the variety of women (and one or two supportive male partners, but mostly women) was inspiring. Every age, every ethnicity, every body type.

We had people who’d been naked at Burning Man 6 years running and people who’d never felt the sun on their breasts before. And because the rooftop is private, it’s a totally safe space to discover what it feels like to be naked outdoors and to get comfortable with your body.

Just for the fun of it, one of our members printed up a stack of glossy cards featuring 50 different photos of us, and on the back of each, information about the group and women’s legal right to go topless in New York. We passed them around, so that we’ve got something to hand out the next time we meet someone who’s not aware of the law.

We also got some reading done — we are a book club, after all.

And some snacking–

And some personal photography–

We listened to music–

–and we listened to each other.

We also just made friends, and did so across boundaries. Two members discovered they went to the same school but had never spoken there. Members decades apart in age bonded over similar tastes in reading. People worlds apart in experience hung out and were just humans together.

It was truly a blissful afternoon, free not just from the constraints of clothing but from judgment and shame and self-doubt and self-hatred. In a word, it was happy. We were happy. And at a time of great national (and global) stress, simple happiness is — you’ll pardon the expression — nothing to sneeze at.

It’s funny how different the same place can feel depending on how many people are there. The boulder at Riverside Park was a happening spot when we showed up with a dozen people in tow, but a week earlier, on a day when the weather forecast ominously promised rain, only two people came and it was the difference between a symphony and a solo, or maybe a novel and a short story.

The same is true of our favorite rooftop sundeck. We came on short notice one day a few weeks back during a brief lull in a ferocious heat wave, and the three people who made the trek up five flights of stairs had all the chairs and all the couches and all the snacks and all the shade to themselves. It was a chance for a first-timer and a long-timer to really talk, something that’s less likely to happen with ten or twenty other people around.

We did get to evaluate an outfit specially designed to show off your underboob–

–and better yet, got to take said outfit off:

And later got to turn a picnic blanket into a Lord of the Rings-style traveling cloak–

But outside of those moments the space felt quiet, spare, serene, It was a nice change — but definitely a change. There was silence. There was room.

Then, a few weeks later, there was another event. And this time the place was hopping.

Same location; totally different place.

If you decide to come out with us sometime, you can let us know which sort of event you prefer. Smaller, quieter, more private, or bigger, livelier, more effervescent.

We promise: we’ll find the event that’s right for you.

How many years have we been coming to this rooftop sanctuary? Seven or eight at least. But it has never felt like so much of a sanctuary as it does this year. In 2020, any place where you can be outdoors — lower risk of viral transmission! — and can be naked and free feels like heaven. So when we had the chance to visit again this month, we grabbed it with both hands.

Of course before we got to the roof and got naked there were a whole bunch of stairs to climb…

…and clothes (and masks) to get out of.

Not to mention some rinsing off and cooling down.

But there were also new outfits to try on, not all of which would be suitable for a stroll through the streets.

Face it, though: naked is best of all.

The sun was so intense that day that we searched out what tiny bits of shade we could find.

Or else proudly stood in the sun like the patriotic souls we are.

We kept the group small, deliberately — damn you, Covid-19! — but our ranks included old friends and new.

And if you would like to join us next time, we would welcome you. There is no feeling like taking everything off in the middle of New York City, and there are few places in the city where you can. We know where these lovely secret spots are! And if you’re an open-minded, body-positive woman, we’d love to share them with you. Just email toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com. We’ll get you naked with us in no time.

We formed this group a decade ago to fight the injustice of being treated differently because of an accident of birth — specifically, being born female in a world constructed by and for men. But as we’re constantly, cruelly, and painfully being reminded, gender is not the only axis along which injustice and inequality are dealt out. Race is another, and the events of recent months have been shocking, horrifying, heartbreaking. They have also been galvanizing, with thousands — tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands — rising up to say, “We will tolerate no more.”

We want to express our solidarity with the goals of the Black Lives Matter movement, and with anyone anywhere who fights for the right to live their life free from oppression, from violence, from cruelty, from fear.

(Our own encounters with the police have been few and in the end have all worked out okay — but that doesn’t change the gut-wrenching fear when you see armed men walking toward you with looks of impatience and intolerance on their faces, especially given the very real danger that you might one day encounter the “bad” cop who doesn’t know or disregards the law in his zeal to punish you for something that is no crime.)

As a group of readers, one small way we feel we can contribute is by directing people toward books that might help open eyes and minds and educate all of us about the issues surrounding race and racism in America. With that in mind, we are glad to share two recommended reading lists of books on these topics: one from The Book Table and one from Refinery29.

While we’re at it, another bookstore you should know about is Elizabeth’s in Akron. Not only do they offer a wide selection of relevant books, a portion of every sale goes to the Loveland Foundation to support their mission of making mental healthcare accessible for black women and girls.

Educating ourselves is only one small step — but it’s an important one, and we hope you’ll join us in taking it.

We look forward to the day when no person will be denied their innate human dignity or their fundamental equal rights because of the color of their skin or the conformation of their anatomy. The fight will not be easy or short — it already hasn’t been. But it is worth fighting.

Three months into quarantine — lockdown — shelter-at-home — whatever you call it — and we’re still not able to meet as a group. No one in NYC is. But somehow life is still going on. Yesterday was Memorial Day, and Central Park was full of families sharing a picnic blanket at least six feet away from the next family or walking the paths, masked. And people who love to be topless are finding ways to be topless, whether that means finding a quiet clearing in the park–

Or leaving the city for a wilder terrain–

Or getting rid of their shirt while driving–

Or on the roof–

Or the back porch–

Or an empty stretch of beach —

Or just in the privacy of their own home.

Meanwhile, some of our members embrace online challenges like reproducing famous works of art, or invent provocative new images of their own.

It passes the time. But we hope it’s not too much longer before the situation improves and we can meet with our friends again! Safely, carefully, but together rather than alone. June may not be the month for it, we realize. Nobody knows what month it’ll be. But it’ll be some month, and hopefully some month soon, while the temperature is warm enough to pull down our swimsuits and wear nothing but sunscreen.

It’ll come. We promise: we’ll be back.

Life in New York has changed — life everywhere has changed.

The rules have changed: no gatherings of more than 10 people; no “non-essential” gatherings of more than 2 people; no gatherings, period. No going outside for anything but buying food or medicine or to see a doctor or for a bit of daily exercise. No going within six feet of another human being.

But the people of New York haven’t changed, the people in our group haven’t changed, and the laws that state that women in New York have all the same freedoms as men haven’t changed — meaning that whatever limited freedom we are allowed, we can use it topless if we want. And we do want. Every little taste of freedom matters, even more so at a time like this.

So we asked our members to share selfies with us, showing how they’re spending their quarantine hours, whether that’s the limited time we’re allowed out or the endless hours we’re spending in — and whether they’re in New York or not. Our members are spread all over the world at this point, and for once this is an event everyone can take part in.

So where do we go when we need to feel the touch of sun and air on our skin? In the limited time we’re allowed, we go out to the park or the forest or the riverbank.

Or just the nearest grassy lawn, together with our canine companion and the most unsentimental book ever written.

We get topless on the deck outside our house, if there is one,

Or up on the roof,

Or out on the fire escape.

Or, if we must, we get our sun through our windows.

What, you thought we’d wear tops when we’re stuck at home? Whether it’s “remote learning” or “working from home,” the only thing we need to have on is our MacBook.

Or not even. We just get some traditional books, and a nice glass of something to go with them, and we’re good for hours.

It does make us appreciate the pleasures of reading even more than we already did.

And that’s just the first 10 people we heard from! We’d love to hear from you too. Show us how you’re spending your quarantine time, whether it’s sheltering at home or seizing the chance to be naked outdoors in some quiet, unpopulated spot.

Email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com or DM us on Insta.

We can’t be together — but you can join us all the same.

With social distancing being enforced all over the U.S. — nowhere more so than in New York City — group events aren’t possible, and even just walking on the street is complicated.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t go outside, or enjoy the newly mild spring weather — or get out of our clothes, for that matter. It just means we need to be a little more inventive, and a little more careful.

Rooftops have always been a New Yorker’s best friend when it comes to outdoor nudity, and they’re your friend now. Go up on the roof and you’re in your own little world — quiet, private, secluded. Take off as little or as much as you want. Get the Vitamin D your body craves. Fight the stir-crazy that gets to all of us when we’re stuck inside for too long.

And sure, why not, get a photo or two to remember it by. Just ask your friend with the camera to stand at least 6 feet away.

One day this will all just be a memory. Our rooftop events will look this again, we promise:

And when that time comes, we hope you’ll join us.

But until then? We hope you find some comfort, some freedom, and some naked time out under the sun, even if it has to be all by yourself.

Over the years, our group has been the subject of lots of media coverage — the New York Times came out with us to Prospect Park once to shoot a terrific video story; Salon did so twice, once reporting on our ordinary activities and once about our all-female, all-nude production of Shakespeare in Central Park (though the actual videos seem to have gone missing); NBC News has a video still up about our Tempest; and 60 Second Docs ran a minute-long tribute to our events and their raison d’etre.

To this august company you can now add our friends at Naked News. Naked News is a Canadian outfit that began years ago just by reporting everyday news events but having the anchors and reporters doing so be unclothed. But over the years they’ve expanded their coverage to include stories that are about social nudity and the body-freedom movement. (Yes, we know a lot of their subscribers are probably male and are watching out of a motive that has less to do with liberation and equal rights than Ooh, boobies! But even the ‘ooh, boobies’ crowd can learn something about freedom and equality if they’re exposed to the message often enough and persuasively enough.)

Anyway: we’ve known Naked News for years and years now, but somehow never managed to get together with them in the flesh (ha ha), until NN news anchor and all-around fabulous human being Laura Desiree told us she was going to be in NYC for other reasons anyway, and could we finally do this thing?

And our answer was yes. Yes, we could finally do this thing. And we did. You can see the result here.

To shoot a pair of live interviews, we met on our favorite rooftop sundeck, where we could be fully naked if we wanted rather than only topless. (Also, we could count on it being quiet, which is handy when you’re recording audio.) Two of our eloquent members came out to talk about our history and goals, offer testimonials about what it feels like to go shirtless in public, and explain why the freedom to do so matters.

While we were there, we even got some reading done, thanks to a selection of delicious pulp goodness from our friends at Hard Case Crime. (Yes, we have a lot of friends. Life is better that way.)

And Laura filled us in about some of her upcoming projects, including a clothes-free cruise up the Danube. The woman travels a lot! Though she once called New York her home, she’s here only rarely these days.

But she promised to join us again the next time she’s back — not for another news story, just for the pleasure of being naked with other smart, interesting, like-minded women. And if that idea appeals to you too…well, you’re welcome to join us as well. Just email toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com or DM us on Insta or Twitter. We’re getting naked all winter long (though mostly indoors!). And when the summer comes — well, just you wait.

Our tour at summer’s end of the city’s parks, celebrating our warmer-than-normal September and October, culminated on an October day when it hit 90 degrees. Yes, you read that right: 90. So we decided to make that day a twofer and also pay a last visit for the season to our favorite rooftop sundeck.

What’s the difference between meeting in Union Square Park and meeting on the roof? In the park it’s legal for women to go topless — but on the roof we can dispense with clothing altogether.

Not everyone does, of course — everyone does whatever she wants. But it’s nice to have the option.

We can also be ourselves, let our hair down in ways we probably wouldn’t in a public place.

But most of what we do on the roof is the same as in the park: we chat–

We laugh–

We read–

We play with our food–

Even this late in the season, we got to welcome several first-timers who finally got around to coming to an event.

Along with some old friends.

What’s next for us? Well, as the weather has finally turned colder, our next 6 months or so are likely to be spent mostly meeting indoors. But you never know — there have been warm days in November some years. It could happen again. And if not, our indoor events are a lot of fun too! If you have any appetite for the sorts of things we do and would like the chance to try them for yourself, get in touch: our email is toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com or you can DM us on Insta or Twitter. And don’t forget — another summer is only 6 months away…

There are so many things we treasure about our get-togethers: the physical pleasure of being bare under the sun on a warm day; the confidence that comes from taking ownership of your body and being proud rather than ashamed of it, strong rather than timid; the knowledge that we’re taking a stand for freedom and equal rights and educating both women and men about what equality means and why it matters. But it’s also just really nice to meet other open-minded, non-judgmental women with whom we can really let our hair down, talk openly, and be ourselves.

What does it mean to be ourselves? It means reading what we want, without having to explain or apologize for our choices.

It means wearing what we want — and as little or as much as we want, for any reason or no reason at all.

It means making our bodies look the way we like — whether that means hair the color of a tropical sunset or a moonlit sky or ink placed wherever the mood strikes us.

It means eating what we like, whether that’s healthy or unhealthy, vegan or omnivore, knowing that our friends may not share our every appetite but will respect our choices.

It also means knowing our choices will be respected in other areas of self expression and personal pleasure.

We strive to live by that most useful kindergarten maxim, “Don’t yuck someone else’s yum.” Even when someone else’s yum looks like it must be uncomfortable–

–or involves stealing our food.

As we approach the season of family-themed holidays — Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas — we want to say that this is our family, and we’re proud of every one of them.

Except maybe the squirrel.