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Letter: Nude beaches can coexist with law

A nude beach opposite the Fire Island Lighthouse.

A nude beach opposite the Fire Island Lighthouse. Credit: Bill Davis, 2008

The essay on clothing-optional public beaches elicited online comments betraying woeful ignorance about body acceptance ["Nude beaches help us show our true selves," Opinion, June 28]. There are hundreds of such beaches worldwide but precious few in New York's metropolitan area.

"Topless" applies to bars, not beaches. In New York, any woman can go "topfree" anywhere a man can. "Naturalists" are devoted to nature; "naturists" are, too, but also enjoy clothing optionality -- wearing as much or as little as is comfortable while swimming, sunbathing, etc., usually in somewhat secluded areas.

Naturist visitors to Lighthouse Beach worked with rangers for years to avoid conflicts with non-naturists. Sandy's dune destruction made the western beach more visible from the road. When asked, rangers state they've been directed to enforce state anti-nudity laws never enforced on this beach before.

There's a genuine community of folks being disrupted by this new policy. That community needs to organize and work with authorities to restore what's been destroyed.

Rangers are not enforcing anti-nudity laws in Fire Island's resident communities, accessible to outsiders only by ferries (or 6-mile walks). Said enforcement's been directed only at nonresident visitors, in a manner clearly discriminatory.

Leonard J. Lehrman, Valley Stream

Editor's note: The writer is a member of the The Naturist Society, which promotes clothing-optional recreation on public lands.