GoTopless Day protesters take over New York and 60 other cities for ‘free the nipple’ campaign
The act of being bare-breasted in public has been legal in New York since 1992 – but the goal for these women is gender equality
Female breasts have been bared across the world as part of a equality drive – with even New York’s iconic Times Square coming to a halt with the skin on show.
Bare-chested women were out in their thousands taking part in the GoTopless Pride Parade on the streets of New York City to counter critics complaining about topless tip-seekers.
Public appearances while bare-breasted have been legal in New York since 1992.
Have your say in our new comments section belowBut Mayor Bill de Blasio and police Commissioner Bill Bratton say the body-painted women in the square who take photos with tourists are a “nuisance”.
The mayor even suggested doing away with the pedestrian plaza at the ‘Crossroads of the World’ – to control both the topless women trolling for tips and the costumed cartoon characters, some of whom were arrested last year for accosting non-tipping pedestrians.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said the scene harkens back to the pornographic “bad old Times Square” of the past.
Sunday’s parade in Manhattan was among dozens of such events in about 60 cities celebrating the worldwide GoTopless Day.
New York GoTopless spokeswoman Rachel Jessee said the goal is for gender equality when it comes to baring one’s chest.
Two Dutch tourists relaxing on the park grass said they did not understand all the fuss.
“I don’t know why they’re making such a big deal out of it,” said Paul Martin, 37, of Amsterdam. “There are more important things to worry about than nipples.”
His friend, Leonie van der Maden, agreed: “It’s ridiculous, really! I’m perfectly OK with it. But why do you need to march, if it’s already legal?”
Marchers had various motives for participating.
“We are doing it because it’s liberating, it’s free, it’s something different. Why not?” said Claudia Simondi, 46, a native of Argentina working as a bartender in the US.
Spencer Jones, 27, a Manhattan artist who has been sketching nude models since she was 12, and later became a model herself, said being topless “never really bothered me”.
Theresa Crudo, 22, even brought along her 15-month-old son.
She came bare-chested – and said that her husband was completely comfortable with her decision.
“Boobs are natural, you know?” she said. “I wanted to show that you can breastfeed in public and do what you have to do for your child.”
But Sandy Belzer, 61, was not convinced.
He said he has “seen it all” as a former bartender at New York’s famed Copacabana club.
“But this is just a disgrace, what this city has come to,” he said. “What’s ‘equality for breasts“‘?[fblike]