It seems to be a pattern. We make gains trying to get nudity accepted in more places, and other people come in and ruin it. YNA does some body painting events in Times Square and the world doesn't come to an end. People seem to be OK with it if it's not all the time, it isn't in their face, and they're not being hustled for money over it. A World Naked Bike Ride through town, a Bay to Breakers run, or people getting their bodies painted in public once or twice a year, and people begin to accept it. But do it every day in a high rent district where you're scaring away customers. That won't last and someone's going get hurt. Namely us.
But no, there's a buck to be made. Women can go topless in NY, panhandling is protected, and YNA and others have shown that you can push the boundaries and get away with it. People don't mind having to walk around street performers with a tip jar, but they don't like topless ladies approaching and offering a photo with people for a tip. That doesn't make the wife happy and it confuses the kids. Once again, think of the children!
Giuliani supposedly cleaned up Times Square by being heavy handed and people liked the result. I suspect that the citizens of Gotham will be happy if de Blasio comes up with some way to put and end to the "naked women" problem, even if he skirts the law to do it. Enough, I'm afraid, that if YNA or others do in the future what they've done in the past which was tolerated, they'll get hauled away.
Go back a couple of years and nudity was tolerated in the Castro district in San Fransisco. But no, some guys had to be obnoxious about it to the point that the once tolerant city felt they had to have an ordinance against it.
Go back about 8 years and some teenagers started going naked around town in Brattleboro VT. A few of them probably got the idea hanging out at The Ledges, finding that being naked is cool and that people can be cool about it. Then it probably grew as an edgy thing to do until enough kids were hanging around naked that was beginning to freak out too many of the locals. Wham... another ordinance.
Nude beaches are often tolerated until they become popular enough that they draw in the crazies, the sexually desperate, and the religious gadflys. Too many of our beaches have been closed down because of lewd behavior, real or imagined, regardless of how rare or easily discouraged it often is.
So what's the solution? Don't back down. Don't let the crazies, the hustlers, and the religious fanatics steal the platform. Insist that what you're doing isn't wrong, don't tolerate others who are ruining it for us, and stand your ground. That's easy to say when most of us can't afford to have our pictures in the paper supporting causes our families, coworkers, and bosses don't understand. But we can at least do a better job of supporting those who do.