Showing uncommon tenacity, the temperature hit a summery 82 degrees over the weekend. So we chased the mercury up and out onto the sun-dappled terrain of Sheep Meadow — the very spot where we first welcomed the advent of spring not so very long ago. It was a lovely chance to gather in one of New York’s most crowded and yet most serene spots, where as one of our number commented, “No matter how strange you are, you’re never the strangest person in sight.” We certainly weren’t — that honor goes to the couple performing acrobatic maneuvers, perched on one another’s knees, arms and shoulders, or possibly to the several people standing on their heads. (Their own heads, not the couple’s.) Hell, we weren’t even the only women enjoying the sun topless, which was a true pleasure to see. Four summers ago, when we first formed our group, we would have been.
As for us, we can very happily report that no one interfered with our exercise of our freedoms, or said anything to us, or even bothered us non-verbally unless you count one verging-on-elderly man who knelt a couple of feet away, staring, until we told him that this was rude, at which point he picked up and knelt next to another topless woman elsewhere on the lawn. (We sent an emissary to point out to him that this was not an improvement. He finally left her alone too.)
One of our newest members, possessed of an artistic bent, brought body paints and, using another member’s torso as her canvas, improvised in color and line.
All in all, a terrific, chill, laid-back moment in the sun. At one point, someone spotted a plane in the sky, leaving behind it a trail of skywriting:
“GOD…BLESS…AMERICA…,” we read, as the message emerged letter by letter. Unironically written, we assume, and taken in the same spirit. Pick your god, or cherish your lack of same — it’s as fine a way as any of expressing thanks for living in a time and place where we can all bare our bodies equally and face no scrutiny or disapprobation for this innocent act.
And with that we bid the summer of 2014 farewell. We’ll have events in the fall and winter as well — but there’s nothing quite like summer.
We leave you with one more pic, sent in by a friend who couldn’t make it to Central Park but joined with us in solidarity from her Brooklyn backyard.
If you want to join us sometime — either in person or in sprit, via selfie — just drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome all women bold and body-positive and wise to the fact that a nipple is a nipple is a nipple. (Gertrude Stein said that, didn’t she?)
Just grab your favorite book and set your breasts free.