In the past two weeks, multiple readers have sent us emails asking if we had seen a woman walking around the neighborhood topless.
We had not. And we had not seen any photographic evidence of this.
Here is a photo via @AskWass ... who noted in a tweet last evening: "Topless girl is Just wandering the east village on this lovely Thursday."
One reader believes that she is simply reminding people that women have the same right as men to appear topless in public. (We don't know for sure if that is her intention. If she would like to contact us via the EV Grieve email ...)
In fact, it has been legal for woman to go topless in New York City since 1992.
A reader passed along this photo from outside Whole Foods on Union Square ...
And via @michalmeer1 ... on Second Avenue two weeks ago...
Updated: 3:27 Friday ...
Racked roving photographer Atisha Paulson caught up with the woman, Moira Johnston, yesterday in Union Square ... and interviewed her about her ensemble... Find the interview here. ...
Bonus Q-and-A excerpt:
Can you tell us a little bit about your outfit?
I'm going topless today. It's to raise awareness that's it's legal for woman to be topless anywhere a guy can be without a shirt since 1992 here in New York State.
When I saw her she had a mustache drawn on her face too... So yes I think it's a statement.
Is that Lady Gaga?
she looks like a sweet and innocent young lady.
God bless. Lovely pair of tits, too. (Sorry, I'm a man and love breasts, what can I say?)
i have an intuitive feeling, just a hunch perhaps, that this posting may be one of the more censored areas for comments; it could possibly win the record for the most censored post... ;) as a test, i will post this comment to see if it indeed ever makes it to a published state.
good for her!
hooray! not censored! i can go back to my regular duties. i will just be careful not to express my actual feelings on topic and appear to completely agree with all the above comments in their absolute and unerring positivity.
@ anon 9:34
And yes — a blue ribbon panel from the Blogger Department of Comment Censoring has convened. They're staring at me as I type this...
I saw a topless woman walking around last week on 22nd b/t park and broadway with a mustache drawn on her face too. pants and a hat and a camera around her neck.... not the same woman though. is this a thing?
As a man I should also protest my right to wear shorts and sandals to work. Not fair that women can wear skirts, dress shorts, and pumps, and we guys have to wear pants. Long live shorts!
Good for her, but that skirt is dreadful.
Uri, there's always the kilt option for men. Have you checked out Utilikilts?
@Uri no one is saying you can't wear shorts, skirts, pumps or ill-fitting jeggings on the streets in NYC if that is your desire.
Most women who work in offices are not allowed to wear "dress shorts" to work either; depending on how conservative the workplace is we can't wear open-toe shoes or bare legs either. If you don't like the dress code requirements of your office, then find a new place to work.
Just to clarify, the topless woman with a false mustache is a different topless woman:
Not to be cynical, but don't be surprised if we find out this is a guerrilla marketing campaign for some big brand. Some branding message might show up on her back today...
In San Francisco public nudity is not illegal unless the subject is "visibly aroused" which obviously discriminates against men. http://goo.gl/BvfcP
I bet she makes a lot of new friends everywhere she goes.
Is'nt it performance artist Holly Van Voas ?
considering the fact that she would be killed or gang raped in many countries (and perhaps in some places in the US) for doing this...
i think it's a statement that still needs to be made.
i wish this comment were hyperbolic, but we all know it isn't.
Has anyone talked to any of these ladies? No point in baseless speculation. For most women walking around in public - much less NYC - is something straight out of a bad dream. There must be a good reason if multiple women are doing this...right?
Why are women still walking around topless? Because you're still asking that question.
It's completely legal. if a male-bodied person did it no questions would be asked. If it was a fat male-bodied person with breasts the same size as hers, no questions would be asked. If she was breast feeding, fewer questions would be asked. Stop sexualizing body parts that are not solely intended for your pleasure. If breasts are still so shocking to you, maybe you should worry about that instead.
The chick with the mustache mentioned in a comment is an activist / performance artist, of some sort, named Holly Van Voast. She was busted earlier this year for stripping in St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Pretty sure it's not the same girl in the photos above.
I for one, applaud her for her confidence and encourage other women to follow her lead.
I think we need four or five more comments pointing out that Holly Van Voast is someone else and the above photos are not her. Because if people can't be bothered to read all the previous comments pointing this out, a few more repetitions are certain to get the point across!
(That said, the mere fact that some guys are incapable of telling apart two women who look nothing alike simply because they both go out topless says something all by itself.)
more power to ya honey
i talked to one of these topless young women a couple weeks ago on 2nd Ave. she said she was doing it to "raise awareness that going topless for women is legal in New York City."
i felt nervous for her, as many men followed her down the street like a pack of hungry, howling dogs. but she seemed nonplussed and did pose for pictures.
net effect: i guess new york city is much a safer place these days. irony is she would never get stop and frisked by NYPD in a million years but if she was a fully clothed hispanic or black male it would be a vastly different result.
i applaud no one
WOW - they are brave! Men are inappropriate enough to women fully clothed!!!
that is ridiculous. are we running out of things to protest?
35! 65 more to 100!
Performance art..woman's libbers???!!^%&**(&^()&
I have a pic of her on my blog under an Occupy post in Union square..everyone ran over to see her and get their pic taken with her. She's really quiet and seems nice. Just seems to want to walk around topless all the time. She was fine with everyone taking pics and a huge crowd around her for over an hour.
@Richard B Theres a good chance the repetitive comments hadn't been published as the others came in.
Is it blog sweeps week already?
Blog Sweeps Week is next week. We'll be in 3D ... one day will be done live... and, on Friday, Patrick Duffy is coming back.
@Anonymous 3:57, you're right. This one time, I regret being a grump!
What I find most striking about this is that she looks.... well, normal. Many of the women who do these topless "protests" (awareness rallies?) are overweight, bodily-pierced, goth, or otherwise weird, or any combination of those traits. This girl looks like some normal woman you might find behind the reception desk at your office.
Pay attention to me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me!
Well first, let me say (in a non- lecherous way), she sure is purdy. But with that red hair / peaches 'n cream thing goin' on, she better be slathered up in SPF 2000.
Saw an interview with her. Not too bright but that's not what's endearing about her.
Was hoping this is the 69th comment, nonetheless...
Got it, she's making a statement that woman should be allowed to go topless anywhere where a guy can be topless. But has anyone seen any man or men without a shirt in the streets or sidewalks while grocery shopping, doing errands, etc? Hardly. Thus, no shirts no shoes, no dice. At parks or beaches while sunbathing, yes. But I guess in her case, no shirt + shoes = exceptional service!
Not that I'm complainin'. Just sayin'.
Call me old-fashioned, even though I'm probably younger than most of the Grievists, but I don't think men or women should be topless in the city. Go to the beach. Thank you.
- East Villager
@ Anon May 18, 2012 8:00 PM
heyyy! i'm much older and much more old fashioned that you!
My name is Holly Van Voast and I have been going around topless for almost a year very heavily. One commenter posted about Moira here having worn a mustache before when seen, but that was actually me. You can follow me on facebook or twitter (lensjockey).., and I have lots and lots of videos that I have made because my intention has been to not really focus on the legal topless issues because after those go away, what are people ging to do? I went further and created a topless entertainment character called Harvey Van Toast the topless paparazzo and have been going around the city and taking my top off in court and in front of Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, Tracy Morgan... james Cameron and just recently Robert Downey Jr... more and more and more... I mean I have covered the city, and I still am, I am on the subways alllll the time. There is tons of online and print press about me too. google NYT topless court Holly Van Voast, for the court incident, or just google "topless paparazzo" I've been trying to set up a reality show about NYC.
I have been doing unpaid promotions for a drag scene that rocks — google "BacKspace Performance Ensemble" and "SALIVA Tuesdays at the Ritz." My videos are on Youtube at lensjockeyvideo.
This is all good, but Holly Van Voast is the chick doing ALOT of this all over the city. I'm hoping it's her work that influenced this young lady to do the same.
Nice tits by the way, on both of them.
of course i'm an idiot and just googled Holly Van Voast
The woman you saw is Holly Van Voast. She goes by the character name Harvey Van Toast. The character is a topless photographer. And this I suppose is a thing as you asked. The are making a statement.
It's not a guerilla marketing campaign. I promise you won't see Microsoft or Apple on the backs of these women.
i stopped reading the other comments about this posting a long time ago. has it been days now? maybe weeks. or years. or the end of time. i prefer to remain innocent in my ignorant bliss.
I saw two women in tsp yesterday sunbathing topless.
I saw here yesterday. Very surreal.
"Stop sexualizing body parts that are not solely intended for your pleasure."
IF men are to stop sexualizing breasts, then women are too. That street runs both ways. In fact, I'd say that women are more likely to sexualize their breasts than many guys are.
Everybody should be able to wander around however they choose, though. Humans are so prudish sometimes.
There was also that woman strolling along Bowery topless last year, which prompted Jamie Peck to put the law into test at Central Park.
[links are all NSFW]
I think it's great campaign...if that's the intention....there have been women who have had tops forcefully "pulled" over them and then handcuffed by the NYPD even though they were being told by pedestrians that what the women were doing was legal.I've also read where the topless scenario was used as breast cancer awareness...my only objection is (as prior stated)
No shoes,No Shirt,No Service......she shouldn't be allowed to shop as such as the rule doesn't pertain to nudity itself....but is a prevention measure directed for the health of others in mind...and is not discrimination....allowing such actually is.....i want to go topless with her and go shopping haha....love to see the results when we walked into the store. :P
She should be the spokewoman for http://www.truenudists.com
It can't be helped. At least women don't pop disturbing boners. If you're a man that wants to be naked in public, do it without being a pervert. Easy as that.
well it is a legitimate point , why can men go topless but women cant ?
How can I tell my 15 year old daughter her body is private, and no one should touch her or see her when women wall around like this? Is it legal for teenagers or preteens to do this? pedophiles would rejoice. Just because you can doesn't mean you have to. And just because the city says so doesn't make it right. They try to snuff out our 1st amendment, and take away our 2nd amendment, and no one complains because in return they give us "BOOBIES". So pathetic. I am almost sorry I risked my life to defend this once great city.
Yes, it's legal for anyone of any age and any gender to walk around with a bare chest in NYC. If you have an issue with your daughters doing it, then talk to your daughters or set down ground rules. It's not the city's job to take care of your children. This is NYC, not Omaha. If you don't like it, perhaps you should move elsewhere.
Actually, I think she has two points to make.... :-)
I see no problem with whats shes doing what so ever and I agree with what shes trying to make a point about I mean god made us naked so whats the problem
I find topless men, anyone, rude and classless, so why would I as a woman want to be equal and do the same! Topless - beach or pool! And since we're on this, pajamas - bedroom or the privacy of your own home! What is this world coming to?!
Yes, heaven forbid that someone who doesn't have a 'normal' 'nice' body should ever want to protest like this- eww! Only teh pretty peoplez can do teh protestz!!
I admire her courage and confidence. If she's a good person too then more power to her!
I believe the NYPOST reported that she just received a settlement of $40k from the NYPD for some situation where she was arrested in the park for this business. Our local or at least used to be local wunderkid Kuby was council per my understanding.
Now that's a chest of pleasure or pleasure of chest. Whole foods 'aight.
Personally I dont like seeing topless men or women on the street.
Cada cavesa es su mundo ....Every head is its own world,Yeah, this dicho saves me daily.
Ah, the carefree life of pre-Covid :)
Good for her👍
Women should be able to feel comfortable breastfeeding everywhere too.
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