In the heat of summer, you might take your favorite summer reading to the beach – if you lived in California, Hawaii, or the south of France. If you’re in the middle of New York City, though, beaches are hard to come by, even when the mercury climbs into the 90s. The solution? For some dedicated fans of pulp crime fiction, it’s carrying their favorite paperbacks to one of the city’s public parks and enjoying them as if they were in the south of France – the no-tan-lines way.
(Note from Crime HQ—We find these pictures more saucy than explicit—good, clean, literate fun among charming readers. If your tastes are different, you’ll probably prefer later Pulp in the Wild posts. We’ll happily feature pulp aficionados however they roam, whether in monks’ cowls, hazmat suits, or full Bigfoot costumes, so stay tuned! And submit your own location shots of where and how you’re reading your crime paperbacks to:
pulpinthewild [at] gmail-dot-com )
This August, half a dozen fans of Hard Case Crime staked out territory in Central Park and Washington Square Park, doffed their swimsuit tops, and lay back to enjoy advance copies of Getting Off by Lawrence Block, The Consummata by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins, and Choke Hold by Christa Faust. (How did they get their hands on advance copies, you ask? We supplied them. Would you have said no?)
Most onlookers pretended to be unfazed – these were jaded New Yorkers, after all – though the occasional cellphone camera made an appearance. Some members of the Outdoor Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society sported sunglasses for extra anonymity; one even supplemented her otherwise negligible wardrobe with a 1940s fedora.
Was this all legal, or were these fans crossing the line between fictional crime and the real thing?
The answer lies in a 1992 court ruling that established that women in New York are free to go topless anywhere that a man can. So no cops descended on our readers with cuffs and Miranda warnings. A good time was had by all.
And what will the O.T.P.F.A.S. do when winter comes? “We talked about coming out to the park again,” said one participant, “maybe in boots and mink coats and nothing on underneath.”
It remains to be seen if donors will surface to supply the minks.