Empire State Building Says Photographer of Topless Ladies Is Making a Mockery of Its Very Serious Lawsuit

Photo by guy being sued Allen Henson, obviously
The offending photograph
Back in January, as you may recall, we told you about Allen Henson, the fine art photographer who was slapped with a million-dollar lawsuit after he took photographs of a model, Shelby Carter, topless atop the Empire State Building's observatory deck. Not to be outdone, Henson roundly mocked the lawsuit in the press and then countersued the company behind the iconic building for $5 million.

Representatives for the Empire State Building have never publicly commented on the lawsuit. As it turns out, though, lawyers for very tall buildings have feelings, too, and those feelings are, at the moment, deeply bruised. In new court filings, the building's representatives accuse Henson of "relishing" the publicity around the lawsuit, and planning an in-court demonstration consisting of dozens of topless women.

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Allen Henson, Photographer of Topless Ladies, Countersues Empire State Building for $5 Million

Photo by Allen Henson
In January, photographer Allen Henson was awoken one morning by a tabloid reporter bearing the news that the Empire State Building was suing him for a million dollars. Henson's sueable offense, according to the company, was taking a topless photo of Shelby Carter, who you see above, thus harming the building's reputation as family-friendly entertainment.

At the time, the amount of money, as well as Empire State's insistence that the photos were a "commercial venture," though Henson hadn't made any money from them, he said, struck him as a little weird.

"I would really like to take this seriously, but it just feels like somebody got drunk last night and said, 'Fuck it, let's sue him for a million dollars,'" he told us.

Henson must be in a "fuck it" mood of his own, because today he sent a group of reporters his answer to the suit, which countersues the company for $5 million.

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Allen Henson, Photographer of Topless Ladies, Not Sure What's Up with the Empire State Building's $1 Million Lawsuit

Photo by Allen Henson
One of the $1.1 million photos
On Monday morning, Allen Henson was greeted by a phone call from the New York Post, asking if he'd like to make a statement.

"In regards to...?" Henson replied. The Post informed the photographer that he's being sued by the Empire State Building for $1.1 million. He took a series of photos of a topless model on their observation deck back in August, which the suit alleges tarnished the image of the building and the observatory as "safe, secure and appropriate places for families and their children."

"Wow," Henson responded, when learning of the suit. Several hours later, he was struggling to handle the situation with appropriate gravity.

"I don't know," he told the Voice, thoughtfully. "I would really like to take this seriously, but it just feels like somebody got drunk last night and said, 'Fuck it, let's sue him for a million dollars.'"

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Robert Asika, Empire State Shooting Victim, Files First Claim Against City and Police

The first victim of police gunfire in the Empire State Shooting has filed a notice of intent to sue the city, the Voice has learned.

Robert Asika, one of 9 people wounded Aug. 24 by police bullets as they fatally shot a homicide suspect outside the storied building, has filed a notice of claim with the city comptroller's office, records indicate.

Asika was struck in his right elbow by a police bullet--one of 16 rounds fired at Jeffrey Johnson, who had just gunned down his former co-worker, Steve Ercolino. Dramatic news photographs showed Asika sprawled on the sidewalk with blood coming from his wound, as passersby tended to him.

Michael S. Lamonsoff, an attorney representing Asika, tells the Voice this afternoon that his client is still receiving medical care, and may have some neurological impairment as a result of his injuries. "We believe that there were too many rounds fired under the circumstances, and perhaps there should be more of an exploration of whether these officers had the proper training," he said.

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Happy Birthday, Empire State Building

Dear Empire State Building,

Happy 80th! Wow, that's old. You were born (completed, really, is the word) on May 1st, 1931, during the Great Depression. Standing 1,454' 8 9/166" tall, you were the tallest building in the world for forty years! A masterpiece of Art Deco design (although -- let's just face it -- not as pretty as your sister, the Chrysler Building), you've been attracting hordes of clueless tourists for years and years.

Empire State Building, this is your life.

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Royal Wedding Commandeers Empire State Building, Too

On this Friday, April 29, 2011, the Empire State Building will be lit up blue, white and red in honor of "the British Consulate General in New York, in celebration of the royal wedding of His Highness Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton," according to the official lighting schedule. George Washington would be so disappointed. [via NewYorkology]

Empire State Building Hit By Lightning Three Times [Video]

It rained a lot in New York City last night. Just around midnight, a local videographer captured lightning striking the top of the Empire State Building three times in a row (and supposedly a fourth off camera), right smack in the antenna spire, making the whole thing appear to be erupting magical purple bolts. Thunder is not included. [NYC Is My Muse]

Thomas Dold, 6-Time Stair-Climbing Champ, Would Get There Faster in an Elevator

Yesterday, we profiled the hot new craze "stair-climbing." Since our coverage, the majority of Americans have been clamoring to find out more about this thrilling test of endurance. Unfortunately, ESPN and other major sports outlets have spent the day focusing on the Super Bowl (whatever that is). As the worldwide leader in stair-climbing news, we are thrilled to announce the winner of today's Empire State Building Run-Up.

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The New York Times Identifies the Next Big Thing: Stairs

Daehyun Park
How did you get from your building's lobby to your office this morning? If you took the elevator, you missed out on the sporting world's newest trend, something called "climbing stairs." It's so hot right now, the New York Times ran a piece today about its rampant popularity.

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Why Was the Empire State Building Tie-Dye?

Last year, in celebration of a Grateful Dead exhibit at the NY Historical Society, the Empire State Building was lit up in tie-dye colors, exciting hippies everywhere. This weekend, the colors went wild again (pictured above) but no one can seem to agree on why. Either it's a "private lighting" or it's in honor of the Transgender Day of Remembrance or it's because founder members of the Grateful Dead are back in town. Looks rad either way!

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