There is "bad" topless, like certain congressmen who feel the need to sext pics of their gym face to blackjack dealers and porn stars. And then there is elusive, magical, perfectly legal toplessness: this week, a woman, since nicknamed "Topless Bowery Woman," took a causal stroll in lower Manhattan sans shirt in the sweltering heat—here's a NSFW pic of her. And while most seemed amused by her exercising her right to do so, Bowery Boogie reports that the woman was stopped and issued a fine by cops...which is illegal.

According to the original NY State Penal Code:

Exposure of a person. A person is guilty of exposure if he appears in a public place in such a manner that the private or intimate parts of his body are unclothed or exposed. For purposes of this section, the private or intimate parts of a female person shall include that portion of the breast which is below the top of the areola.

However, the NY State Appeals Court ruled in 1992 that exposure of a bare female breast violates this law only when it takes place in a commercial context. In 2005, police arrested Jill Coccaro and held her for 12 hours for walking around topless. She sued, and the city eventually settled the incident for $29,000, or $14,500 per breast.

In addition, women celebrate their legal right to walk around the city topless every year on "National Go Topless Day." So unless the mysterious "Topless Bowery Woman" was handing out coupons for the buffet special at the West Side Gentleman's Club, she wasn't breaking any laws. Although, maybe cops were worried that by flouting society's conventions, she might cause a car accident: