Going Topless In NYC! Is It Legal?

Wait…just before you throw stones you might want to hear what Moira has to say in the video footage below. I met her while in a different state of mind running to the Post Office to drop off an urgent package. I was just about to enter the federal building (post office) when I spotted a lady right in front of it shedding off her blouse to catch the sun ray. At first I thought a hidden camera or a “Girls Gone Wild” video crew might be lurking around the corner.  I was shocked to learn from the lady herself that she just felt hot from the sun and needed to catch some air. Then I thought it could also be some kind of protest, a movement of some sort. She said no it’s just a normal day for her, that it’s actually legal for women to go topless in the State of New York!

As a curious cat, I couldn’t help myself. It didn’t take me long enough to whip out my camera to have her tell the world this news. While we were busy recording and getting to know each other, a crowd had already swelled around us, many people asking various questions, some women stepping in to give her a high five and hugs! Cops came and went and said not a word! You as a tax payer might want to see this article about a lawsuit in 2007, a reason why they are untouchable.

Moira held court on Union Square, NYC. Photo by Tinu

As a jaded New Yorker, I thought I had seen it all, apparently not.

Moira, who eagerly educated the crowd, anyone with ears, including myself, told us that going topless in NYC has been legal since 1992 unbeknownst to many of us! I was particularly surprised to see many gentlemen passing by actually behaving well. They asked sensible questions while women of a certain age, who might have rallied in the women’s civil rights back in the day stopped by to congratulate her for “carrying on their work” in this day in age. Moira dutifully thanked them in return for paving the way for women like her today. It was as if a virtual baton was being passed between the generation of women.

So, how many of you out there can be bold and brave enough to do what Moira did?

Unfortunately, there will always be a cop who didn’t pay attention in training. The cop arrested her a few minutes later but had to release her eventually.

Moira being arrested. Photo by BH, courtesy of Tera.ca

Preview the video footage below. (It was formally on youtube with well over 100,000 views before it was taken down. It just got reuploaded on Vimeo!)

Going Topless In NYC! from tinu on Vimeo.



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  1. Bull Garlington says:

    Be careful what you wish for: if young attractive women win permission to go topless, old fat hairy opalescent men will have the right to go pantsless.

  2. Chuky (Charlotte) Wilson says:

    Nope- Cant show your genitals…

    If there is to be true equality in this nation then women should have the right to do whatever a man can.

    You go girl!

  3. Marc Tardif says:

    Moira, good for you! It makes too much sense to not be wearing a shirt in situations where a man can also be without a shirt to be more comfortable. I am one of those men who will take off his shirt as much as I can, so you should be able to do the same. It’s interesting that you mention hot yoga because I practice hot yoga and you’re absolutely right, it’s better without a shirt. Most men do not wear shirts in hot yoga class. (I refer to this as being “topfree” as opposed to “topless”. “Topfree” implies that you are without something that you don’t want whereas “topless” implies that you are without something that you do want.)

    I have a sad story to tell you. This one time last year, a new female student showed up for class and comes out of the dressing room topless. Everybody in the lounge area is shocked! A silence fell over the room. The instructor of that class approached the lady, nervous as all hell, and was mumbling “you need to wear a top” while gesticulating her hands over her own chest. The lady was cool about it, she said something about “oh, I have to wear a shirt? OK then” and went back into the dressing room and came back out wearing a top. Everybody was giving her the hairy eyeball during the class, and I never saw her again. But before she left, I gave her the thumbs up and told her that I was completely on her side. She told me she appreciated that and she’ll follow the same approach until she finds a studio that will let her practice hot yoga top-free like men are allowed to do. I wished her luck. I doubt that she found a studio that would accommodate her though.

  4. S. says:

    Women will need to put in a lot more effort to turn men on if they go around seeing naked women everywhere they look! They’ll desensitize themselves to the sight of breasts. So what?

    Don’t blame your 13-year old daughter if she wants to go out topless because it’s “legal”, and you wouldn’t mind the stares she’ll get from men would you?

    Rationalize all you want, but human nature is human nature. You want men not to act upon their innate sex drive when seeing bare breasts, keep wishing for it – and it might work. Don’t say no to porn either because pretty soon that might be visible on the streets too – nothing wrong with brushing against other’s bare chests now is there? Not an issue for you, not for onlookers.

  5. LA says:

    So I’m hearing that female breasts should not be associated with sex?
    That would be some pretty unsatisfying sex for both parties!!

    Either most of these women are gay prancing around topless saying don’t look, don’t look! or
    they are attention starved needing attention & they just might get it from good and bad. Don’t be surprised when sexual offenders target these women.

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