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Go topless this summer in New York!

Last updated on: June 04, 2013 12:09 IST

Go topless this summer in New York!

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The summer couldn’t have become merrier for New Yorkers this year.

Till last summer, New Yorkers would have thought twice before heading to Central Park and stripping down to enjoy the sun, fearing the wrath of the police for indecent exposure.

But earlier this year in February, the New York Police Department decided to go soft on city dwellers looking to soak up the sun.

In a memo to its policemen, the NYPD said that bare-breasted women should not be cited for public lewdness, indecent exposure or any other section of the penal law.

The memo read: “Members of the service are directed not to issue summonses, or take other enforcement action, against male or female individuals who are simply appearing in public unclothed above their waist.”

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Photographs: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

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Go topless this summer in New York!

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The memo though reminds the officers that there are still times when they can detain, arrest or give tickets to women or men for being indecent in public.

“... if the actions of any individual rise to the level of a lewd act (e.g. masturbation, simulated sexual act), regardless of whether the individual is clothed above their waist, or if the person is naked below the waist and is not entertaining or performing in a play, exhibition, show or entertainment.”

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Photographs: Luke MacGregor/Reuters

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Go topless this summer in New York!

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According to the New York Times, the order was disclosed in an official memorandum contained in a federal lawsuit filed by Holly Van Voast, a Bronx photographer and performance artist known for baring her breasts, last Wednesday against the city and the department.

The suit lists 10 episodes in 2011 and 2012 in which the police detained, arrested or issued summonses to Van Voast, 46, for baring her breasts at sites that included the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Terminal, in front of a Manhattan elementary school, on the A train and outside a Hooters restaurant in Midtown.

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Photographs: Luke MacGregor/Reuters

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Go topless this summer in New York!

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Each complaint against Van Voast was dismissed or dropped, her lawyers said, for one simple reason: The state’s highest court ruled more than two decades ago that baring one’s chest in public -- for non-commercial activity -- is perfectly legal for a woman, as it is for a man.

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Photographs: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

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