A Chilly, Educational Field Trip with the Outdoor Co-Ed Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society

Categories: Books, Breasts
After about 20 minutes, the book club decided to take a group photo in front of the famous fountain. I found that I was literally unable to walk out into the plaza shirtless. It felt roughly equivalent to doing a backflip off the edge of a building. Ashamed, I put my sweater and jacket back on and trailed after them, feeling warm but defeated. Through the window, I could see the espresso bar in Avery Fisher Hall, where two or three men were sitting at a long counter, reading newspapers. The papers remained suspended in the air, unread, for several minutes while the women passed by.

As the women reached the fountain, a security guard appeared.

"I know you're allowed," he said without preamble. "But you have to put your shirt on."

"Is this private property?" the man of the book club inquired pleasantly.

"You want to talk to our litigation team?" the security guard asked. No one had said anything about litigation. He seemed agitated. He was already radioing for backup. Seeing that their breasts appeared to be causing him some discomfort, the women retreated to a tasteful distance.

"I'm gonna refrain from answering questions," he announced. He folded his hands, averting his gaze as he waited for help, which arrived in the form of the head of security and two other uniformed guards.

"Is this a commercial?" the head of security inquired. He was wearing a gray suit and looked jolly.

"We're a book club," the book club's token male replied. "We read books."

"That's beautiful," one of the guards muttered.

"You can't shoot in front of the fountain unless you get permission," the head of security explained, smiling broadly. We all paused for a moment and watched politely as several people posed for photos in front of the fountain.

"Is it private property?" the book club man asked again.

"It is," the head of security said. "I'll stop you every time. Feel free to come back. I'll stop you." But he seemed troubled. "What are you guys protesting?" he asked after a moment. The man explained, again, that the group is a book club.

"How do I become a member?" one of the guards muttered, half under his breath.

The head of security turned to me, watching for a moment as I took notes. "Are you the official writer?" he said indulgently. He seemed to find it adorable. He chuckled.

With that the guards seemed to consider the situation handled. We left. They waited until we were most of the way across the street before breaking into laughter.

The book club decided to stop at a tiny farmers' market just across Broadway, where they lined up to buy apples. A lady on a motorized scooter gunned her engine as she rolled by, scowling. She and another woman paused a few feet away and turned to face us. The other woman, who was in her 60s and had long silvery-blond hair, looked upset.

"I'm not old-fashioned," she appeared to be saying, over and over, arms crossed, shaking her head.

"I'm amazed!" she confided when I made my way over to her. She's from North Carolina. It was her second or third day in town, and she was worried. "I'm not old-fashioned, but I think these girls are really subjecting themselves to rape. There are crazy people out there!"

When I related this to the book club members, they went silent.

"That's so offensive," one of them managed, finally. "That makes me madder than anything."

We sat for a while longer, finishing the brioche buns. An older man at a nearby table turned to a pair of teenage girls he didn't seem to know and delivered a quiet, heated lecture about the book club's lack of attire. Meanwhile, another teenager stopped by our table.

"Can I ask what your costumes are supposed to be?" she ventured timidly.

"We're just exercising our legal right to be topless," one of the members told her. The girl looked amazed. But soon enough, the buns were finished, the book club resumed its shirts, and the streets were safe once again.

- See also: Manhattan Topless Book Club on Brooklyn Woman's Arrest: Police Officer Was "Ignorant of the Law," "Abusive"

Send your story tips to the author, Anna Merlan.

My Voice Nation Help

I'm not sure December is the time to push for this initiative.

Naturistspace.org topcommenter

I think it has nothing to do with sex, when nudists want to appear more sexual they change the way they are acting and you view them in a whole different way.

frank124c topcommenter

What they were doing was perfectly legal and no one should bother them. I think total nudity for men and women should also be legalized, there are some cities both in the US and in Europe where total nudity is legal. It should be so in New York City and NY State. The big advantage of total nudity is that it would be impossible to carry a concealed weapon.


Signs You May Be Living In A Collapsing Third World Kraphole:

No one gives a HOOT about the massive financial fraud, institutionalized torture, institutionalized war crimes, corporate bribery, lack of rule of law, lack of a credible judiciary, rampant government spying on ordinary citizens, food poisoning, institutionalized kidnappings, presidentially-ordered assassinations of U.S. citizens, forced healthcare expenses at gunpoint, and taxpayer-funded bailouts of private businesses... BUT show people some DROOPY SWINGERS and watch them go C R A Z Y with interest.

frank124c topcommenter

@amerikaisfinished201 U r so rite! With all the terrible things going on in the world most people turn a blind eye and a deaf ear. But let a woman take her shirt off and they have everyone's instant attention! I think they should invite more men to sit with them, shirts off, and see what happens.  

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