Yes, Ladies, You Can Walk Around the City Topless

Thumbnail image for rsz_topless-woman-on-bowery-2.jpg
via @olidub
Yesterday, we reported that a woman was spotted strolling the Bowery topless. Yes, full-on topless, no bra, no shirt, just boob. Two of them. One photo suggests that the woman was getting a ticket from two cops, but some of you commenters pointed out that this lady had every right to be beating the heat in the buff.

We emailed NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Paul Browne our original post, asking whether or not this woman was breaking the law. He replied:

The state's highest court established long ago that women have the same right as men to appear topless in public. Absent a link to some commercial enterprise or promotion, the woman's lack of certain attire in this instance does not appear to be a police matter.

Browne added in a later email that there was no evidence that he was aware of to suggest that the woman was in fact ticketed. Topless Bowery lady, get in touch, we want to hear your story!

A woman's right to go topless in New York has a long history. The defendants in the 1992 case People v. Ramona Santorelli and Mary Lou Schloss were arrested along with five others in a Rochester park for violating a law which prohibited women from showing "that portion of the breast which is below the top of the areola." (Areola = coloring around the nipple). Santorelli and Schloss argued that the law was "discriminatory on its face since it defines 'private or intimate parts' of a woman's but not a man's body as including a specific part of the breast." The New York Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the two women.

More than 10 years later, Jill Coccaro was arrested in 2005 on Delancey Street for going topless, but sued the city and received $29,000 in a settlement.

So ladies, it's a scorcher out there, feel free to bare it all on top, and if you want some solidarity, August 21 is National Go-Topless Day. But remember this other handy comment on our earlier story: "Honestly, I find it much cooler to wear a T-shirt because the cotton absorbs the stickiness." Noted!

[@ezwrites]

Update: Topless Woman Went to Midtown and Central Park, Too
Previously: Lady Strolls the Bowery Topless on Hot Summer Day
See Also: Why, Yes, You Can Watch Porn at the Brooklyn Public Library


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632 comments
betance
betance

Here's another question.  Are the constitutional rights of children being infringed upon?

betance
betance

If you think bringing your kids around ladies exposing their breasts is ok then you're in support of it, and otherwise you're not.

Malia Thompson
Malia Thompson

If I didn't need the support of a bra, I'd do it!

Vh Hurtado
Vh Hurtado

cops usually harass topless women to put something on because there are male morons out there who will do more than just look and then they have to get involved and do stuff.

Ana Yoga
Ana Yoga

i get this whole freedom to be and walk about as you wish...but this is a bit of an invasive...and not so sure its sending a positive msg...

Brian Perfect
Brian Perfect

Cleaned up Times Square, now everyone is confused.

Tara O'Malley
Tara O'Malley

Christ - we get harassed about ours when they're in dresses, we might actually cause a revolt !!xx

Kurt Capalbo
Kurt Capalbo

And please do. But don't go crazy when men harass the hell out of you cause of perpetual wood

Candice Rivera-Cahoon
Candice Rivera-Cahoon

This is old news. When it became law in the early 90s, my friends and I went to Thompkins Square park to hang out and I promptly removed my shirt! It was awesome! Got a lot of looks but I always got a lot of looks so I just hung out topless that afternoon.

LeeK
LeeK

I agree with the 16-year-old boy, and I am a 22-year-old woman. The difference between a man's breast and a woman's breast is that a woman's breasts (most specifically the nipple) are part of her reproductive system, and therefore exposing them is no different than a man being allowed to expose his testicles in public. I of course realize that ovaries, not breasts, are the homologue to testicles, but the fact remains... reproductive system = off-limits.

reiko17chan
reiko17chan

@Endless_distractions - Doesn't mean that we should ignore the "little issues". Issues are still issues, and they all add up. Haven't you ever heard the saying "Wars are won a battle at a time"? 

Endless_distractions
Endless_distractions

Arnt there women out there who cant learn legally and other much more serious issues we should worry about?

john-charles
john-charles

It's culture. That's how it is. In every culture there will always be people trying to change something just for changing sake. I bet you there is a woman in an African tribe who thinks that they should wear clothing and that them not wearing clothing is degrading them. Culture and religion always affects how we think whether for it or against it. We do not live in a vacuum. That is the reason you eat chicken and think eating a dog is not good while in China they think otherwise. That is why you don't believe in committing a suicide bombing and meeting 72 virgins in heaven while others do. People in the States will always think showing boobs is taboo.

brandynewland
brandynewland

my question is when will men and women be allowed to walk around naked completely


trojans3711
trojans3711

im laughing at all the comments on here, like any debate you have, good or bad, is gonna change anybody elses mind.  cracks me up.  leave the 16 year old alone, he's young, but has good points.

psql.santoro
psql.santoro

As a man I agree with women being able to bare their breast. I can get over it easily, I agree there is no difference between male and female. But....... breast are sexual. I touch my girlfriend's breast and she go's ape wild and I know men who like to be touched like that too. Still doesn't change the situation, we are sexual species from the color of your eye to the open toe shoes we attract and react. We have the most complex sexuality in all the species on this planet and with a little training we can learn to love and deal with ourselves. Kids teach your dumb parents not to shelter you from what is truly beautiful .

dbornemann
dbornemann

I'm not from the area, but I would be willing to bet you don't see a whole lot of men walking around the city topless.  I know I'd feel pretty uncomfortable walking around in public without a shirt on in a place where people typically wear them, but I don't have any objection to the law allowing others to do it.

oscar007x2
oscar007x2

Hey look i'm a 16 year old teanager that would probably think it's real hot to see a bunch of topless girls out in public. But the reason i think it's unappropriate is this. The womens breasts are part of the female reproductive system. Everyone knows this. They get big when the woman is about to have a child and smaller after the child gets older. This is typical knowledge. Just bacause men don't have that special feature does not mean they sexual. If they weren't sexual then why would Every single guy on the planet get turned on by them???? I think most of the people supporting this are either perverted guys, or moms who don't care to breast feed their children on their own time.

mona50d
mona50d

just an fyi for those that don't know NY state is not the only state that allows women to go topless where ever a man can californa has a similar law and as for anyone that thinks a womans breast is gross they have mommy issues and as for a woman to be allowed to walk around topless yes i am for it and its up to the person if they want to  and the only differance between a womans breast and a mans is the hormones that makes a womans breast bigger other then differant hormones they are the same in every way  

skitzproduction
skitzproduction

nr1foxyprican - You are a jackass for saying that its sinful and filth for a woman to show her breasts! I wish your mother hadn't fed you at all.... with breast OR bottle.. see how far life would have taken you then! YOU ARE FILTH AND TRASH... NOT BOOBS! As far as I'm concerned some men have bigger boobs than I do.. so what's next??? Hello wake up LOSER!!!!!

matthias2986
matthias2986

we have been conditioned to think certain things in a certain way. I subtract myself from the ways of the many. 

AbbyRoad
AbbyRoad

I'm not offended by breasts, having my very own pair myself, but this whole topless idea kind of rubs me the wrong way. I understand that women want to feel equal and have the same rights as men, and that if this were a perfect world, we would all feel comfortable being able to walk around city streets topless. However, doing this is not going to change the fact that certain parts of the world are not accustomed to this. It is not going to change the views of those that believe breasts ARE sexual things. It is not going to make people less uncomfortable. I understand that the whole point of this is to not care about what anybody thinks of you in public, but the fact is that children don't know better, men don't know better, heck, more than half the country doesn't know better and will always be confused/turned on/against having boobs on public display. That WON'T change, I'm sorry to break it to you. It would take another hundred years to be completely acceptable because it starts with how each one of us has grown up with this perspective on breasts as sexual, "private" parts. All the power to you if you have this type of confidence though.

macdaddy0807
macdaddy0807

As far as human beings as "animals" is considered, there is nothing wrong with women being topless.  In fact, I'd say breasts are not even naturally supposed to be a sexual thing in the first place.   I believe breasts remind people of their own mothers who nurtured them with their own.  So instead of a sexual feeling, it might be more of a motherly feeling.  Would it be wrong to say that society began skewing our natural instincts and thoughts since the moment we were born?  Everything we see as attractive is actually what our mind considers good in a possible female to mate with.  As far as homosexuals are concerned though...that's an entirely different train of thought that I do not even where to start with.

 

The above is more than likely just a random collection of sentences that are closely related to another and might  not flow well, but you guys understand the gist of it right?

Blue_Angel_1812
Blue_Angel_1812

honestly i dont exactly think its right, yes i know other countries have women who do this but america isnt exactly used to this, i mean im pretty sure since for centuries women havent really been flashy with this stuff in public so people might argue about the sudden change, not to mention im sure there are children who shouldnt have to see it since its public and kids have the right to walk around. i definitely not going to go around topless and i live in a place much hotter than new york its rediculous and just ..slutty besides this im sure its going to turn heads into talking and staring and if thats what she wanted bc it doesnt look like she'd actually research articles and court stories do you really want to do this and follow in the foot steps of someone who just wanted to do it to attract men in a degrading way? and honestly if she wants to get harrassed, stared at, or get flirted with or whatever go right ahead but i'll be there to tell you i told you so when you regret it from probably a whole list of what went wrong.

dylan
dylan

@betance Um no. There's no law saying children can't see boobs.

bcintella
bcintella

You get a hard on that easy from just seeing boobs? You need to get laid, LOL. 

bcintella
bcintella

ANY woman would get a lot of looks being topless. And a confident beautiful woman feels no need to make a point that "I always got a lot of looks"....known women like you and it's usually the opposite or some kind of insecurity. Keep telling yourself that. 

Maria
Maria

@psql.santoro  Breasts aren't sexual, but they can be sexualized. Their naturally are used to feed children, that's their only true use. That's the only true reason why their there. Everything else about them media and other people just make up/sexualize it. I think breasts are in the category of fetishes. Like some people like feet, bondage, just for examples breasts could fit in there. Once there was a case where a woman had a organism from someone touching her feet. People have different things that turn them on, or don't have an effect on them at all. I think it's just up to that person's personal preference.

Maria
Maria

@oscar007x2  No, breasts aren't sexual. Their not apart of the reproductive system (you don't stick a penis in a nipple for gods sake -_- ). Vaginas and penises are sexual organs. Also who said women didn't get turned on by men's breast, or some other part of their body? Maybe most men find them sexualizing is because media coveys to men the message that breast are. Just watch commercials, and look at ads with women in them. They can go as far as making the women a product, into a thing. :P

whpike
whpike

@oscar007x2 

we react because we were taught to react,,, just as years ago, men thought that to see a woman's ankles was scandalous. Women have the same rights as men. It took many years to get it that way but there it is,,, there should not be a law that requires a woman to do anything that is not similarly required of men,,, if men go to the beach and go toppless, then women should be afforded the same right,, most men won't be walking around city streets toppless and the same goes for most women,, there are always some that will, and that should be their right. 

boobaloo
boobaloo

@oscar007x2 

Your ignorance reflects your age my friend. The only reason people have the views they have of women's breasts is because they were sexualized and deemed a 'naughty' or 'private' area in recent society. Way back in ancient times and definitely before different types of media took over women used to walk around topless just as men do and it was no big deal. Hell, even now if you look at places where there is more tribal inhabitants the women walk around topless as the men do because that part of the body on women isnt sexualized. It's just seen as where babys get their food which at the end of the day IS what breasts are. they arent by nature someing sexual. 

Blackbird71
Blackbird71

@oscar007x2  The ignorance...it burns...
Yes, breasts are a stimuli for men, just as the same goes for curves, pretty eyes, and usually looking healthy in general. Why? Because men (being one myself) are pre-programmed to look for health in women, because that will give them the best chance of having healthy off spring. No, breasts are /not/ connected to the reproductive system, because if a woman were to have a mastectomy, she would still be able to have children.

aprrusti
aprrusti

@oscar007x2 

i'll forgive you for being ignorant because of your age... later in health class you will learn that there is NO DIFFERENCE between a man's boobs and a female's boobs. if you were to give a male the right amount of hormones as a woman that were pregnant the man would be able to produce milk also. 

foxonthewind
foxonthewind

 @AbbyRoad I have used this right and law, but only while driving on country roads with very few people crossing my path. To drive a car on a gorgeous day with all the windows open and the sunroof open and no shirt on is a feeling like no other. There's a reason men in Jeeps do it all the time. :) I've tried a nude beach once to see what it would be like to have my whole body exposed to the sun, but found the men to be crude and disrespectful and so I won't subject myself to that again. But I'm all for the law, because on those solitary highways in my little zippy car and the radio blasting, if I had been stopped by a cop it was my every right to be enjoying the summer breeze.

foxonthewind
foxonthewind

 @macdaddy0807 The reason men sexualize breasts is that breast size indicates a woman's ability to care for the children he would father, speaking from the human beings as animals perspective. It's the miracle of feeding your infant with your breasts that both a-sexualizes them for women and sexualizes them for men. Men like boobies because it indicates a woman who would be mother-material for his offspring.

StaceyTaylor
StaceyTaylor

 @Blue_Angel_1812 

 

That's seriously repressed there. America needs to grow up and stop being silly about sex and body parts. You need to review history a little closer, you don't seem to have a realistic grasp of what's going on all around you. What happens if children see it? Are you that ignorant of sexual reproduction you think seeing breasts somehow influences children in some sexual manner? Talk about sexual illiteracy. 

 

Why is it "slutty"? Of course it's going to turn heads, people enjoy breasts, and it's the novelty of it that gets attention more than the actual breasts. What makes you think she's doing it to attract men? Why can't she prefer it because it's comfortable and she's an adult who can do as she pleases? 

 

Not everyone is as sexually hung up and repressed as you are. While we're here, your ignorance and your screwed up inability to distinguish between simple comfort and some kind of desperate attention seeking reveals you're the one with the problem assuming that if body parts are involved it's de facto about getting male attention.

 

Guess how many times you've been cheated on. Go on, guess. Guess how many more times you will be cheated on being this ridiculously clueless and uptight about human sexuality.

JohnDoe
JohnDoe

@dylan @betance And nor should there be any laws saying such. Breast feeding would then become illegal when it's perfectly natural.

Pro_Libertate
Pro_Libertate

@Maria @psql.santoro

Lactating cells represent only a minimal part of a well formed female breast, typically - for B and larger breasts - only about 10%. The rest is entirely made up of FAT CELLS, which are there just to make the breast LOOK BIG, without adding anything to the baby feeding function.


In other words, the size of women's breasts has NOTHING to do with feeding babies. Look at chimpanzees or gorillas: do they have them? No, they don't! And why do they lack breasts? Because their PRIMARY sexual region, their behind and genitals, can easily be displayed!
Women developed large breasts as SECONDARY SEXUAL ORGAN, to attract males while standing upright!
Breasts imitate a woman's behind.
And they are not just visually highly sexually attractive, they RESPOND, touching them is highly sexually stimulating to women! Maybe yours are dysfunctional, you might want to have them examined.
The mind boggles to think that anyone should claim that breasts are NOT sexual. That's something a pre-adolescent might say...

Pro_Libertate
Pro_Libertate

@Maria @psql.santoro 

Lactating cells represent only a minimal part of a well formed female breast, typically - for B and larger breasts - only about 10%. The rest is entirely made up of FAT CELLS, which are there just to make the breast LOOK BIG, without adding anything to the baby feeding function.

In other words, the size of women's breasts has NOTHING to do with feeding babies. Look at chimpanzees or gorillas: do they have them? No, they don't! And why do they lack breasts? Because their PRIMARY sexual region, their behind and genitals, can easily be displayed!

Women developed large breasts as SECONDARY SEXUAL ORGAN, to attract males while standing upright!

Breasts imitate a woman's behind.

And they are not just visually highly sexually attractive, they RESPOND, touching them is highly sexually stimulating to women! Maybe yours are dysfunctional, you might want to have them examined.

The mind boggles to think that anyone should claim that breasts are NOT sexual. That's something a pre-adolescent might say...

elbradamontes
elbradamontes

@Maria @oscar007x2  What!?! You are out of your mind. The "media" didn't make breasts sexual by putting them in commercials, they're in commercials because they're sexual. And there's a difference between something being a sexual reproduction organ and being sexual. By the way...breasts are sexual organs! Know what happened when my wife gave birth? Her breasts got big and full and round. Why? To feed my child. How in the bloody hell do big full breasts NOT represent child rearing? Since you guys are so willing to mention apes and other non-upright animals think of this... a chimpanzee's cooch swells and reddens to indicate they are fertile and ready for mating. If you walk upright, how do you indicate fertility? Is it possible that neanderthal women's breasts swelled up when ovulating causing the connection in the man's mind? Now, if a man grabbed your arm to get your attention or to move you to the side so someone could pass with lets say...a tray of drinks would you mind? What if he was a stranger? What if he grabbed your boobs? If you're walking around naked and a protestor is slapping protest stickers on people and he puts one on your boob do you wonder why he did that instead of putting it on your arm? 

SpankyMoon
SpankyMoon

@Blackbird71 @oscar007x2  Pretty eyes should be covered at all times, unless viewed by two consenting adults in the privacy of their own bedroom. Eyes are obviously sexual organs because they turn me on. Because I say so, and I say so loudly!

oscar007x2
oscar007x2

@Blackbird71 @oscar007x2  It is part of same purpose of producing healthy offspring. Besides, times and situations change. Maybe in some african culture where the women always go topless it might seem like no big deal. But for us it IS different. Since it does naturally for us in most cases represent sexuality. In that case you might just say that we should all go around naked anyways since other cultures did it and it's natural anyways. It doesn't matter. For us it IS sexual, and the people that want to ignore that can go live on special places like nude beaches and not force all this trash down the rest of our throats. People like that have a choice, other people besides them should have a choice too what kind of enviroment they leave to their children to live in.

elbradamontes
elbradamontes

@aprrusti  no difference...except for the size. And shape. And the nipples. And the sensitivity of the nipples. And the hormones. If there is no difference between male and female breasts why don't men breast feed?  

akiara
akiara

@aprrusti 

Actually the breasts are different. Research is more before you respond. But I do agree, the boy is being ignorant. In Europe you see breasts on TV and in magazines and public all the time. No big deal. But we're prude here in America.

georgemissita
georgemissita

@aprrusti God did not make men like women.Maybe you should have gone later in health class

nr1foxyprican
nr1foxyprican

 @StaceyTaylor Are u serious. wow this is not ok to do period why do you think new york is the only state that accepts this crazy sort of bs.  sin and filth. when you see a girl on the corner half naked you think whore selling the goods for money when you see a woman doing it for same sex rights you think she just wants the attention. I think whether your selling your flesh or showing your bare breast to stripping in a club its all the things we women fight to keep us respectable and walking around topless will get you no respect i dont care if it is for the cause it stupid and trashy. people can take photos and post them on line and people who bare there breast may lose there jobs or worse. for there indecency. thank god i dont live in Babylon in the bible thats what the state of new york is called the city of sin the devils play ground of course they would pass something like this. free peep shows sure why not . oh not getting any tonight go to new york and get your free thrills its the law. desperate attention seeking women with flap jack titits longing for some attention. seriously repressed women cant seem to distinguish between looking like a whore or looking like a proper lady.  i do not want my children seeing this crap and thinking its acceptable behavior of a woman. and you talk about cheating like you do it on the daily now i see where you would rationalize this in your mind your a little tapped in the head are you. cheating is not expectable you are so lost i hope you wake up one day from your retched path of sin and lies and sexually repressed morals ughhh vomit.

amber.jael
amber.jael

The ONLY reason young men and little boys such as yourself feel that female breasts are "sexual" is because of your upbringing and your subsequent understanding of the world because of that. Im assuming your parents probably thought that it was bad to let you see boobs or romantic scenes in movies growing up, right? That is all nurture, not nature. Nature proves that men's and women's breasts are exactly the same, but because of higher estrogen levels in females, they have more dense fatty tissue than men. That's it. You are a very immature young boy and as someone said before me, I will try to forgive your ignorance based on your young age and not thinking for yourself about touchy subjects on your own yet. In Italy (since you used the "African culture" idea), men and women walk around naked infront of each other as well as their children ALL the time. Young girls can walk with their fully nude grandfathers while picking olives in the garden and not think twice about it. Brazilian women walk around naked or in underwear alone in front of everybody, especially their young children to get them accustomed to the human body and accepting people's bodies for what they are. Other countries do not have such sexual overtones in the naked human form. It is art. It isn't blocked out in shows or movies. You will realize all of this as you get older. As for now, I hope some of what I said was educational and you will further increase your knowledge by researching some of what I just said in more detail.

sunflowershine
sunflowershine

@georgemissita - or maybe you should take a biology class? they are literally exactly the same. 

bcintella
bcintella

@nr1foxyprican @StaceyTaylor All I can say is, topless or not, I wouldn't live in NY if you paid me. That would be one of my LAST choices to live for many reasons. 

brandynewland
brandynewland

@nr1foxyprican @StaceyTaylor  being the bible thumper you are when God created Adam and Eve they were naked and God had no issue with it as he saw the human as a whole as beautiful it was only later when Adam and Eve were ashamed of their own nakedness and covered themselves it became an issue so don't blame this on God 

foxonthewind
foxonthewind

 @nr1foxyprican  @StaceyTaylor nr1foxypricen, how can I take you seriously when you can't be bothered to use proper grammar? At least StaceyTaylor writes like someone who has an education and prides herself on being able to use it. You type like an ignorant person - whether or not you are I can't say, I don't know you, but you can at least try to make an intelligent argument.As much as you will hate this and tell me I have no class or am not a lady the way you think a lady should be defined, I have used this right and law, though not even a little bit for attention. I have driven topless countless times on country roads with very few people crossing my path and no passengers in my car. To drive a car on a gorgeous day with all the windows open and the sunroof open and no shirt on is a feeling like no other. There's a reason men in Jeeps do it all the time. :) I've tried a nude beach once to see what it would be like to have my whole body exposed to the sun, like a cat on a summer day, but found the men to be crude and disrespectful and so I won't subject myself to that again. But I'm all for the law, because on those solitary highways in my little zippy car and the radio blasting, if I had been stopped by a cop it was my every right to be enjoying the summer breeze.I don't expect everyone to understand, or to even agree with how I choose to go about my life. I'm not looking to walk around NYC without a shirt, but more power to the woman who wants to. What does anyone else care? You're afraid of what your kids will think? What, when they say, "hey mom, why doesn't that woman have a shirt on?" you can't just say something like, "she doesn't think her chest is any different than a man's chest, other than how it's shaped. She has no shirt on for the same reason that daddy doesn't wear a shirt sometimes. But I don't think I'd like daddy going without a shirt on a busy street, would you? Maybe she's not thinking about the people who are looking." Lesson shared, explained to kids, move on with life.

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