"They're just boobs, they don't shoot bullets"
Chris Olivieri, 25-year-old, artist and aspiring rapper, has been painting and protecting the topless feathered ladies of Times Square, four years, since the Bloomberg administration, without incident.
"Mayor Bloomberg didn't give us any trouble, and supported our cause, we're just a bunch of kids trying to make a living."
Lovely, Angel Bunting and her two friends, Amanda and Saira, the handful of 'painted street performers' left at the Crossroads of the World, with literally, nothing to hide, have a message for Mayor de Blasio.
"Don't believe what you read in the papers."
"We're out here having fun, we're out here celebrating life, celebrating New York City, celebrating being a woman."
The tourists love them, they're not doing anything wrong and civil rights lawyers are keeping a watchful eye, as the girls are protected by the 14th Amendment... and little else.
When the speaker, of the City Council calls it sexist and applauds the courageous, 'undercover' Post reporter who came to the same conclusion I did, these four, are doing nothing wrong, and valuable resources could be better invested in, what's ailing the city.
Who's the boob?
This has about as much to do with a moral imperative, as the carriage ban had to do with horses.
"Shut That Whole Thing Down"
Half way through his first term, among Mayor de Blasio's most notable achievements, are the things he's attempted to abolish, by edict, and for no other reason other than, "I said so."
His relentless. pursuit to purge much of the, "New York-iness" from this great city, with a particular penchant for transportation and tourism, is deeply disturbing, for those of us who voted for him.
Helicopters, Uber, Ringling Brothers Circus Elephants, lions, tigers, bears...oh my. Banning bunnies, Carolyn Maloney's Panda, anointed PETA Person of the Year, for this compassion to animals (although he's never owned a pet, and killed the groundhog), his attempt to make New York a "no horse" town, 'day one', ended in a resounding neigh from the City Council and two thirds of of his constituents (according to Quinnipiac).
It seems there are more prescient things that need fixing in this town, than to waste precious resources on ripping up the $27 million pedestrian plaza in Times Square, for six sets of boobs, particularly when they're not breaking any laws. At least the six I interviewed.
For 16 years, the Naked Cowboy has been baring his nipples for pix and tips. Truth be known, in those tighty whities, you can see what religion he is.
The Hypocrisy of Nipples
It is illegal for women to go topless in most cities, yet you can buy a magazine of a woman without her top on at the 7-11 Store. So you can sell breasts, you just can't wear breasts in America
I was drawn to this story because, at 71, I came of age during the sexual revolution. Women's liberation showed us a new freedom. We came from girdles and pointy bras, but in the 1960s, we burned our bras, either figuratively, or, in my case, literally.
In an elegant stroke of serendipity, the International Go Topless Pride Parade, happened to coincide with the Mayor's Boob Patrol edict, as hundreds of bare breasted, exuberant, women warriors, marched down Broadway, from Columbus Circle to Bryant Park, legions of NYPD lined the twelve block and two avenue barricades.
There were the perfunctory, leering men with cameras, but for the most part it was a really inspiring day, and the irony of the Mayor's bizarre attack on the naked ladies, two blocks away, was not lost on the liberated revellers.
"I've been harassed less today, topless, than I am everyday on the streets of New York, fully clothed" said one woman.
"Free the nipple" was the battle cry, the parade coincides with the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, August 18, 1919, guaranteeing all women the right to vote.
Angel, Amanda, Chris and Saira are standing their ground, it's become an issue of gender equality and the de Blasio administration has opened a Constitutional can of worms, and in their own way, these young women are as courageous as the suffragettes. At the turn of the century, a mere glimpse of a bare ankle was as risque as Angel's perky nipples.
When we got to Bryant Park, I asked what they thought of what the mayor was doing in Times Square. After the booing subsided.
Never ever can it be an inequality, and a sexist issue. It's not ok, so de Blasio, if you want to make it about girls being topless and that not allowed, I'm ashamed of you, like seriously ashamed.
Because you are saying that it's ok, for men to do something that women can't do, and in that is a whole antiquated philosophy that causes so much harm to all of society, not just women but all of society.
-Phoenix Feeley, Go Topless Pride Parade, 8/23/15
There are some pretty brave ladies out there on the front lines of this fight, and guys too. The mayor is wrong on this.
The mere threat of a task force got rid of the 'aggressive' panhandlers, or they put sequined tops on. The Naked Cowboy and the actual bare breasted painted ladies aren't going anywhere, and Titsgate will have been a big flop, because there is that pesky Constitution and there are going to be civil rights lawyers like Norman Siegel and Ron Kuby fighting the good fight.
'They have already dug themselves a constitutional hole by declaring bare breasts are the problem,' Mr. Kuby said.
Norman Siegel, former director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said the city would also have a hard time arguing in court that the women were blocking traffic or the entrances of buildings, which are common reasons given for putting limitations on speech. 'These women can stand there all day' and have people take their pictures, Mr. Siegel said.
We need to stop making these things about women's bodies. This is about the whole country being shut down with this provincial thinking, feeding into fear and prejudice and one person's morality. "It's just wrong"....who says?
I will keep telling their stories. They are not who you think.
From Lady Godiva to Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction, women have been trying to free them faster than others trying to cover them up.
I have a really great idea, would save the city a lot of money. Just wait till winter. And hopefully, de Blasio won't rip up the pedestrian mall, where I've done some of my best filming. Confidence is high, this will all just go away... and I'll meet you there at the first snow.
"Selfies in Times Square First Snow"
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