You've seen that there are nude beaches where people can sunbathe in their birthday suits, but is it legal for someone to do it anywhere else in New York?

To be topless or not to be topless

It feels like there are a couple of different types of people in the world.  There are people who are offended by the naked body and those that aren't.  Then there are people who are not ashamed to show their bodies in public and those who definitely wouldn't.

The question is whether or not it's going to get you in trouble with the law to do it.

It's a debate that has been going on for decades.  If you are at the beach and a woman is sunbathing without her top on, is it illegal?

Some people get angry when women are topless in public

A couple of years ago, some parents were furious that a woman was sunbathing topless at Woodlawn Beach.  They said that they thought it was indecent and that the woman should be in trouble because there were little kids around.  However, the topless woman was not outside of her rights.

So is it illegal for women to be topless in public in New York State?

It is not illegal to sunbathe topless in New York State.  Both men and women have the same rights when it comes to this.  Anywhere that a man can be topless, a woman can do the same.  So yes, if a woman wanted to just take her top off while walking down the sidewalk, it is perfectly legal to do so.  Most just choose not to.

It was Penal Law 245.01 that was amended in 1992 to allow for women to be topless anywhere a man can be for gender equality reasons.

But just to be clear, topless is not the same as naked.  You CAN be fined for being naked in public.

What type of nudity will get you in trouble in New York?

The two ways you can get in trouble by being topless in public include showing your private parts in a lewd way or if you are being naked for a commercial reason.  So if you're getting paid to be naked, you can get in trouble for it.

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