Gothamist Article: August 11, 2014

NSFW Video: Park Police Crack Down On Nude Body Painting In Union Square

A participant in last month's NYC Bodypainting Day. (Sai Mokhtari)

NYC park police in Union Square cracked down yesterday on noted nude body-painter Andy Golub, who has been arrested in the past for painting naked flesh in public. Golub has recently enjoyed a copacetic relationship with the city, but this video shot by Joey Boots shows park police approaching Golub and two nude female models to inform the women they need to "cover up their bottoms." Feel free to skip past the topless gentleman who attempts to join the fun; the park police enter at the 22 second mark:

Golub, who recently had no problem leading a group of naked people through town on "NYC Bodypainting Day" [NSFW] tells us that after his encounter with park police, he simply relocated to a sidewalk across the street from the park.

"Full nudity is legal in the streets of NYC if it's for the purposes of a performance or a play or an exhibition," Golub maintains. "The issue here is that I'm inside a park. The parks have their own set of rules. I could go through the process of trying to clarify what the parks have the right to do or not do, but at this point I have chosen not to take that on, because my goal here is to do live body painting in the streets, and we've been very victorious in the sense that I've been allowed to paint nude men or women in broad daylight in the streets of NYC in all five boroughs."

In 2011, one of Golub's models, Zoe West, was arrested when she removed her G-string to be painted by Golub in Times Square. The city later paid her $15,000 in a settlement.

Golub has no plans to challenge the Parks Department over yesterday's incident. "You get to the point where you're asking whether you want to spend all your time on the battle side of this or on the art side," Golub tells us. "Originally there a 'nighttime-only' restriction [on my work]. I was arrested years ago, and the charges were dismissed under the condition that I do it after the sun went down."

Golub says he subsequently came to an agreement with city lawyers, with the help of the NYCLU. "I don't feel my art is sexual or rated R, and it should be in broad daylight," Golub says. "We got that [nighttime-only restriction] overturned and I was able to paint in broad daylight. I have to announce it to the legal department of NYC in advance, so they know when and where I'm doing it. I shouldn't have to announce that I'm doing something that's perfectly legal, but I feel like that's a relatively insignificant issue, because it doesn't stop me from doing what I'm going to do."

"New York City has been really nice and accepting of this form of art and the nudity," Golub adds. "I appreciate that. I'm not trying to make trouble, I'm trying to make art. I'm supportive of the police, and the police are supportive of me."

It's worth noting that it's legal for anyone to be topless in New York City, with or without a layer of groovy paint or lowbrow reading material.