'Go Topless' parade takes to streets of New York City

NEW YORK -- Broadway put on a very different kind of Sunday matinee: bare-chested women and men parading down the Great White Way.

The GoTopless Pride Parade took to the streets of midtown Manhattan to counter critics who are complaining about topless tip-seekers in Times Square.

Appearing bare-breasted is legal in New York. But Mayor Bill de Blasio and police Commissioner Bill Bratton say the body-painted women in the square who take photos with tourists are a nuisance.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the practice harkens to the pornographic "bad old Times Square" of the past. Years ago, Mayor Giuliani cleaned up this busy tourist destination: getting rid of peep shows and strip joints, making it more family-friendly. Except now years later, under the deBlasio Administration, scantily clad women are back, and many families are offended. Eyewitness News is told state troopers are now investigating these bare breasts to see if the women and the men who protect them are in compliance with labor and tax laws.

Sunday's parade was among dozens of such events staged in about 60 cities on the worldwide GoTopless Day.

In New York, GoTopless spokesperson Rachel Jessee says the goal is for gender equality when it comes to baring one's chest.

Police blocked off streets along the route.

This week, Mayor Bill de Blasio said a multiagency city task force will be convened to address what he calls the 'growing problem' of topless individuals and costumed characters in New York's Times Square, and one idea under consideration is eliminating the pedestrian plaza where they gather.

(Some information from the Associated Press)
Copyright © 2019 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.