Being Naked in Your Backyard Legal In New York?
It's summertime, which means warm weather and less clothing. While it's common to see people in their yards in things like swimsuits, is it illegal for them to be nude?
New York has all sorts of laws that regulate what we can and cannot do in public and in private. Sometimes these laws seem like they contradict themselves. Other times these laws are pretty vague and are ultimately up to the interpretation of a police officer, a judge, or ourselves. There is one thing that's certain in New York State, women and men are legally able to bare the same amount of skin in public.
New York State's Exposure Law
Back in 1992, the New York State Supreme Court rules that New York's Exposure law, NYPL 245.01, had to apply equally to each gender. So, since men are able to be shirtless in public, women can also. Beyond that, nudity in public in New York is illegal. Both New York's Exposure and Public Lewdness laws make it pretty clear what you can not do in public.
Is Being Naked in Your Backyard Legal In New York?
Here is exactly what the state defines as Public Lewdness:
A person is guilty of public lewdness when he or she intentionally exposes the private or intimate parts of his or her body in a lewd manner or commits any other lewd act: (a) in a public place, or (b) (i) in private premises under circumstances in which he or she may readily be observed from either a public place or from other private premises,
and with intent that he or she be so observed, or (ii) while
trespassing, as defined in section 140.05 of this part, in a dwelling as defined in subdivision three of section 140.00 of this part, under circumstances in which he or she is observed by a lawful occupant.
So, what this means as we understand it is, as long as your private property cannot readily be observed from either a public place or from other private premises, you're allowed to be nude in your backyard. This can be tricky in city neighborhoods and tightly plotted housing developments, so before someone thinks about going nude in their backyard, they should make sure they have a very big fence and no visible lines to where they are. If you live out in rural areas with a lot of land you definitely have more freedom to free your body of its clothing.
The bottom line is it is legal to be nude in your backyard, just make sure no one can see you. Please.