NYT: Men Now Going Shirtless in New York City

The NYT makes note of a new trend – shirtless men in New York City:

Shirtless“I was on my way to the bank and I saw not one, not two, but three guys” walking shirtless across Eighth Street, said Rob Morea, a personal trainer and an owner of Great Jones Fitness in NoHo. As might be expected of someone in his line of work, Mr. Morea’s own physique resembles that of a bendable action figure. Despite that, he would never go shirtless in New York, he said. “It doesn’t feel right. It’s like going to a business meeting in your underwear.”

It is all a predictable part of the dressing-down of America, said Patricia Mears, deputy director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

“It’s great we live in a democratic society, but we’ve lost all sense of decorum and occasion,” Ms. Mears said. “To be on Fifth Avenue is now about the same as being on the Coney Island boardwalk.”

To display your unclad torso on Fifth Avenue is also, she added, to give proof of the proposition that in the evolutionary arc of masculinity, men are no longer the oglers; they are the object of the gaze.

More here


  1. jamal49 says

    I guess these folks don’t get out much. Take a walk in the Village or in Chelsea or in Hells Kitchen. Gay men have been doing this for years. Perhaps it’s only news because allegedly straight men are doing it. Should any guy do it? Well, I would never be one to complain and I must say it does make for some wonderful city sights. Unless when I’m driving my car. Then, it could get, um, a little distracting, you know, sort of like texting.

  2. Jimi says

    As much as I like to look at hot guys, I don’t think it’s appropriate to be wandering around shirtless unless you are at the beach, or some other environment where it’s expected (Poolback yardetc). That’s not to say I’m not going to look at them when I see them. But it just seems inappropriate to me. Either way, it doesn’t particularly matter what I think. People will do what they do. It’s the way of the world.

  3. andrew says

    MS. Mears: Men have always been the object of my gaze. It reminds me of those HOT pics of JFK Jr. and Kellan Luts jogging around NYC sweaty and, thank the gods, shirtless.

  4. Chris says

    At the age of 52, there seems to be a clear and present generational gap. Ms. Mears needs to get off her haughty horse. I think there may have been ladies on the NYC streets showing some knee too. What shall we do!

  5. Zlick says

    I’ve lived in both L.A. and New York, and I’ve got to say I would likely find it a little jarring to see bare-chested guys in (many parts of) Manhattan. Probably just because I don’t associate that with my former ultra-urban environment, and have come to associate it with my always-sunny beach environment.

    Even here in L.A., rampant shirtlessness is only typical in the beach towns, and you rarely see shirtless guys even in my own ultra-gay neighborhood of WeHo.

    That all said, Manhattan is a place to mix hundreds of fantastic styles – and there’s nothing wrong with shirtless being one of them!

  6. AJD says

    I agree with Jimi… Unless there’s sand or water nearby, or you’re at home, walking around topless – whether you’re male or female – strikes me as pretty low-class.

    And I think Mears’ remark about the “dressing down of America” is spot-on. Anyone who’s been to Europe or the more developed parts of Asia will immediately notice that people in those areas tend to look a lot better than most Americans. New York is sort of an outlier when it comes to fashion, but people in many other parts of the country have no qualms about going out in sweatpants and a cut-off T-shirt.

  7. Daniel Berry, NYC says

    I admit I’m uncomfortable with men walking shirtless on the street. Of course, doing it in Chelsea (which is a giant cruise bar anyway) is a lot different from Fifth Avenue in Midtown. For myself, the first years I lived in NYC I definitely dressed differently for that part of Fifth Ave (I didnt’ even like to wear jeans uptown) than I did in my neighborhood (I’ve always lived in the Soho/LES/East Village area). Kinda old fashioned, I know–maybe a relic of my coming from the South. I certainly would not have gone shopping in Sak’s or Bloomie’s in shorts. It’s kinda weird, tho–cuz I”m a cyclist, and on the bike have always worn decidedly alternative/informal costume. And Im serious about working out, so my body’s not anything to be ashamed of. But I still have that sensibility…And I like that there are places one can go for which one, well, dresses.

  8. Not that Rob says

    Wow so many people are uptight. If you’re inside it’s one thing, but summer outside hot as balls sweating your ass off it’s not appropriate to go shirtless?? Give me a break. If you got if, flaunt it. If you don’t got it, go to a gym.

  9. Josh says

    Yes they are men’s bodies, but not sexy bodies. New York takes what it can get. They do it for gay admiration, where showing any skin is enough.

  10. Derrick from Philly says

    LEAVE JOSH ALONE!!! I’ve spent 20 minutes trying to figure out what he’s trying to say. It’s exercise for the mind.

    When I figure out his comment here then I’ll go on to figure out the one he made about Ellen hosting the Oscars.

  11. anon says

    This “trend” was last popular in NYC in the 1970’s at the end of the hippie era (which came very late to NYC). Gay men would distinguish themselves by wearing vests and either jeans or cut-off jeans. NY is traditional fairly uptight.

  12. EchtKultig says

    Our weather can be so beastly in summer. I really don’t know why the USA didn’t adapt the dress code of Bermuda, which at least has sea breezes in summer. As someone else noted, this makes a heck of lot more sense on the east coast than it does in Venice, CA, which rarely goes above 90F and if it does it’s a dry heat.
    But of course when the “wrong” sort of people start doing it, there will be a backlash against it.

  13. MikeInQueens says

    @JAKEINLOVE Such are the consequences of gay culture (what there is left of it) going mainstream. Acceptance, conformity and all that. NYC has always had a conservative streak, even in the “gay hay-days”. Daniel Berry got it pretty much right about back in the day. You wanted to flaunt your body? Go to the West Village and the piers. You want to go shopping at Bloomies? Dress up a little. You want to really let it all hang out? Go to a sleazy dance club. It IS different these days in NYC. Queer culture and attitude just ain’t what it used to be, unfortunately.

  14. Fred says

    Like 5th avenue is some sort of holy place where people are supposed to follow some weird twisted ideal of “decorum”.

    It’s NYC; the city that when it rains, makes it’s own gravy that smells like pee.

  15. D.R.H. says

    Gawd, this country is uptight. It’s no wonder you’re all struggling with the marriage thing when tattoos and *gasp* a man without his shirt on are still scandalous.

  16. Jinx says

    WHAT THE???!!!!! That NYT writer AND editor who approved running that story has GOT to be new to the city, probably directly from a convent or Salt Lake City. Men have been going shirtless in NYC fro DECADES! It begins the first warm day of spring. I’ve also seen it in other places I’ve visited and the little I lived elsewhere.
    Additionally, for the Times to be wasting time and space on this topic is final proof that it is officially a worthless rag. If they can’t find anything else to report that they see as news in this city, this country, this world, they are worthless or feeding into the hands of government and corporate entities that detract from the reality of this world, and our nation in particular as it plummets to hell in a rocket.

    Why are the not talking about the pathetic, shameful reality of continued high unemployment?, Or the fact that 46% of New Yorkers are OFFICIALLY living in poverty (and we know if that is “official” numbers, the reality is higher – probably much higher). That the Mayor is rushing to close public libraries to sell off the property to real estate developers – probably his buddies – by his last day in office, Dec 31, 2013?, That the mayor & most other politicians, ESPECIALLY Quinn who wants to be mayor – are doing NOTHING to stop the closing and sell-off of NYC hospitals??? Where will we go when injured or sick? WHY is the Times not reporting on the fleecing of NYC small businesses by city gov’t of numerous fines and fees that cause many businesses to close? Bloomberg always touts that small businesses are the base & spine of the city, Obama says they are the main base of American job growth – yet they prop up corporations with taxpayer money and run small businesses into the ground with outrageous fees; e.g., the NY Health Dept fining a restaurant for EACH fly in a restaurant. How can you keep flies out of a restaurant when the doors open & close all day (hopefully, if it is lucky enough to have business). Restaurants in Brooklyn get inspected – thus Fined – every month, but Manhattan restaurants are inspected ONLY ONCE per year??? Inconsistencies abound! Buildings are fined for repairs made decades ago that have been hidden behind. Shouldn’t building inspectors be fined for ineptness instead of the building owner who buys the building? Is a buyer supposed to rip out the walls when considering the purchase of a building???
    See, there are ENDLESS examples of the NY Times all of the hews that is NOT FIT to print!

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