Last updated: 08:39 PM ET, Sun August 23 2015

GoTopless Pride Parade Brings Bare-Chested Activists to Broadway

Impacting Travel | Michael Isenbek | August 23, 2015

GoTopless Pride Parade Brings Bare-Chested Activists to Broadway

Illustration courtesy of Thinkstock

In New York City, a parade of men and women leaving little to the imagination joined 60 cities around the world Sunday to celebrate GoTopless Day — but Manhattan’s march had a strong element of activism alongside its showing of skin, the Associated Press reported.

The parade’s route down Broadway to Times Square had significance, as city officials are quite open with their disdain of the topless tip-seekers at the “Crossroads of the World,” the AP said — despite toplessness being legal in the city since 1992.

According to the AP, Mayor Bill de Blasio and police Commissioner Bill Bratton say body-painted women in Times Square who pose for photos with tourists are a “nuisance.”

The mayor has even floated the idea of eliminating the Times Square pedestrian plaza, to control both the topless women and the costumed cartoon characters — a few were even arrested last year for hounding non-tipping passers-by, the AP said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said to the AP the scene is reminiscent of the pornographic "bad old Times Square" of the past.

But New York GoTopless spokesperson Rachel Jessee isn’t sexualizing the matter, telling the AP the goal is for gender equality when it comes to revealing one's chest.

The AP got many opinions for and against from both participants and onlookers.

"I don't know why they're making such a big deal out of it," Paul Martin, 37, of Amsterdam said to the AP while relaxing on the grass in a park. "There are more important things to worry about than nipples."

Theresa Crudo, 22, of the Bronx, brought along her 15-month-old son as she marched bare-chested. "Boobs are natural, you know?" she said to the AP. "I wanted to show that you can breast feed in public and do what you have to do for your child."

Sandy Belzer, a 61-year-old native New Yorker from Florida, was not a fan of the display of flesh. He commented to the AP he's "seen it all" as a former bartender at New York's iconic Copacabana club. "But this is just a disgrace, what this city has come to," he declared. "What's 'equality for breasts'''?

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