IMG_3365It feels like only yesterday it was Halloween. (Well, the day before.) Now here we are and it’s November and what do you know? The sun came out. And it was warm and beautiful, the sort of fall day you almost fear will pop and vanish like a soap bubble if you look at it too closely.

So we didn’t look. We just headed out for the park and its carpet of fallen leaves, got as naked as we could, and soaked up all the Vitamin D old Sol was willing to pump into us. Manga was read, as was an advance copy of BORDERLINE by Lawrence Block. Kitchen tools were discussed, as were breeds of apples. One of us was sporting a new tattoo. One was a first-timer and camera-shy. We saw mounted police on horses. No one bothered us. It was lovely.

How sweet, the last sip from the once-full cup.

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IMG_3283The temperature climbed into the upper 60s today, so we decided to brave the autumn weather (overcast and, briefly, raining) for a little walking tour of the Lincoln Center area. We started at the tables by the big reflecting pool and enjoyed a chat with the Village Voice‘s Anna Merlan, then headed over to the iconic fountain, where an uncomfortable-looking security guard told us the plaza is private property and neither women nor men are permitted to go shirtless there. Is that true? Who knows?  It may be private property, but we suspect a shirtless man or two has been allowed to pass through unmolested at the height of summer. But it was too nice a Halloween afternoon to spend time arguing.  Instead, we headed across Broadway to the little farmer’s market there, where we sipped hot apple cider and chatted with passers-by, who seemed more startled by our bare breasts than by the suppurating zombie wounds one of us was sporting or the wolf costume on another.  Of course, most people paid no attention to us at all.  We love you, New York! We love you, Halloween!

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IMG_0582What’s worse? Being in the dead of winter, when summer is no more than a distant memory, or a time like now, when the thermometer creeps toward the 60s but no further, teasing us and then retreating? Either way: we miss the summer.

To warm ourselves and you, we thought we’d share with you some bits of film and footage we never posted before, from the day we spent down by the Statue of Liberty back in July.

And remember, last year we managed to meet once in December. There’s hope.

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IMG_3171Who says the fall is too cold for strolling shirtless? Not when the mercury flirts with 80 degrees in New York City, not when there’s an open-air food festival to explore near Madison Square Park…

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…and not when we have new books to read, hot off the presses from our friends at Hard Case Crime. (By Michael Crichton, no less!)

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We enjoyed violin music courtesy of a stylish, vest-clad busker and an impromptu aria or two from what seemed to be an opera-trained flash mob, complete with accordion and baton-wielding conductor. We had interested visits from a photography student from Ecuador and a woman who said she hates wearing bras but hasn’t quite gotten herself over the hump of going topless; both promised to join us at a future event. (If you’re reading this, please contact us! We’d love to have you.) And we enjoyed miniature doughnuts, beef meatballs with brown gravy and pork meatballs with cranberry horseradish sauce, pomegranate lemonade, vegetarian spring rolls and vegetarian buns of some sort, deliriously yummy pretzels from Sigmund’s, and chocolate-chip brioche rolls that one of our eloquent members described as being like eating a cloud.

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And when it finally did get chilly we got dressed again.

IMG_3141Oh, and we saw cute dogs. Some so cute we couldn’t resist the temptation to walk over to them.IMG_3096IMG_3104

There’s nothing quite like a walk in the park on a beautiful autumn day.

And then it was time to go. :(

But this may not be our last adventure of the year. As long as there are days like this, keep your eyes peeled. You never know when you might see us out and about…

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IMG_2778aWhen morn in late September sunlit dawns, 
Presentiments of autumn nowhere seen,
Nor wintry breezes, nor the touch of rain 
That lately has defiled so many days,

And in its stead the warm caress of air 
As temperate and all-embracing as 
At summer’s peak, but with a plangent strain
For well we know its like won’t come again

For many months, we take ourselves outdoors 
And share with friends of vintage old and new 
A draft of vineyard’s fine fermented crop
And orchard’s too, together with a feast

Unmatched in time’s remembrance; yea, we glut
Ourselves on flavors fair and, fairer still, 
The gentle hand of Helios on our all-
Unburdened bodies; thus we meet the end

Of summer’s season with defiant mien.
You say tomorrow beckons, cold and drear,
And well you might; but for today we play
In summer’s final bounty of delight.

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IMG_2543The latter days are upon us. It feels like fall. Suddenly afternoons in the park are brisk rather than sweltering, and walking off the street and into the sauna in a spa doesn’t feel redundant.

On a recent afternoon that was not only brisk but rainy, a small band of us visited a lovely spot in midtown called Athena Spa, where they’re cool about nudity, even the co-ed variety. The environment isn’t so photo-friendly (ever try carrying a fancy digital camera into a steam room?), but we snapped a few pics of ourselves in maximum relaxation mode.

Well, maybe not absolute maximum—but for the moments that were even more relaxing than these we turned the camera off.

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IMG_2593One of our old friends returned to New York recently after spending time in Egypt and Turkey and Israel and India. As it happens, she can pass for a native of any or all of the above—in Egypt, Egyptians think at a glance that she’s Egyptian, in Turkey a Turk, and so forth. And so, while travelers from, say, Japan, or lighter-skinned, blonder-haired travelers from the U.S., got a pass, what our friend got was a great deal of unsolicited advice about what she shouldn’t do outdoors. Such as exist, outside the company of a man.

In Egypt in particular it wasn’t advice, it was exhortation: a woman in the street without a man by her side—either father, brother or husband—is any man’s, to do with as he will. And if she makes the mistake of dressing provocatively to boot, she is taking her life in her hands.  (How many rapes per day are there in Cairo? Do you just want the official, reported figure…? How shall we count gang rapes?)

Of course, there is more going on in Cairo right now than attacks on women. But when the revolution passes (and it will, they always do), the plight of women will remain. On the “women’s car” on a train—and, my god, I could just stop there, couldn’t I? that there even is such a thing, in 2013—on the “women’s car” on a train, women covered from head to toe stole curious, eager, wondering glances at the western women, the ones who dared to wear short sleeves, and pants. But only glances, only peeks, and then they returned to their covered-up existence.

Why do we go topless in the park at the end of summer in the middle of New York City, where it is legal and any woman may do so if she wishes?

That’s why.

That’s fucking why.

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