Yesterday was the twenty year anniversary of the court ruling which made it legal to go topless in NY State—most topless activists celebrate the ruling on August 21st ("Topless Day"), but notorious topless enthusiast Holly Van Voast wanted to do something special for the actual anniversary. So she went topless in front of the HOOTERS in midtown—and soon after was taken by ambulance to Roosevelt Hospital for a mental evaluation, "where the doctor had no idea it was legal to be topless in NY. He checked it out, said it was very interesting to hear."
Van Voast told us she was ready to go inside and join her friends for some wings when police showed up: "The police said that they had gotten some calls, they did not mention getting a call from Hooters, and usually they mention it when the business I am outside (I have done this alot) complains, so I am not sure HOOTERS themselves were involved. The police always mention children being in the area, so it's likely that that is what bothered some people, because children do often walk on the sidewalks where they could see me."
She was handcuffed, and then held at the hospital for three hours. She said she felt lucky a photographer was there to document what had happened, because "this is not an uncommon occurrence for me. Most of the times I end up in an ambulance I can reason with people and I can leave... but nobody tells people who call 911 on me that this is legal behavior. Blaming the topless woman for wasting everyone's time is more understandable to almost everyone."
Van Voast also explained why she celebrated as she did yesterday:
I wanted to have a fun time eating chicken wings and honoring a day that is important to me, it wasn't even anything against HOOTERS for me. I just thought that it's funnier than doing a typical demonstration type event outside City Hall or something. I guess alot of people would prefer me to be an activist, but so many activists and activist activities don't seem to have a sense of humor, and that is important to reach people — I feel.
So just to be absolutely clear, yet again: he NY State Appeals Court ruled in 1992 that exposure of a bare female breast violates the NY state penal code only when it takes place in a commercial context. Otherwise, ladies are free to flaunt their stuff, whether they're in the park, on the Lower East Side, at Union Square or on the subway.