Finally, warmer weather is starting to make it's presence known throughout New York State. As the temperature rises we have started to see our neighbors playing with the kids in the yard, trimming trees and taking walks. One thing I didn't expect to see is my neighbor mowing his lawn, while not wearing clothes!

Turns out he just had his shirt off but from my side of the fence he appeared to be naked. That got me thinking, is it legal to be naked in your yard in New York State?

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I suppose there are reasons why you might be naked, outside, in your yard. Perhaps you want that all-over tan from sunbathing. Whatever the reason, are you legally allowed to be naked in your yard in New York? The answer is not a simple yes or no.

According to Attorney Andrew M. Stengel, New York State Law "covers" this topic under Offenses Against Public Sensibilities. There are certain circumstances where there is no doubt that it's ILLEGAL. Public Lewdness is illegal. In short, you cannot expose yourself in a lewd manner in a public place.

Photo by Filip Mishevski on Unsplash
Photo by Filip Mishevski on Unsplash

According to New York State Law it is ILLEGAL to be naked, where the private parts of your body are unclothed, in a public place. Here are a few exceptions;

  • Breastfeeding of infants
  • While entertaining or performing in a play, show or entertainment
Photo by Amy Humphries on Unsplash
Photo by Amy Humphries on Unsplash

All of the offenses that I saw in New York State Law make it illegal or be naked in public. As far as your own private yard, it is LEGAL to be naked, under certain circumstances. You should expect trouble if you are not wearing clothes while collecting the mail but if you are sunbathing in your backyard behind a privacy fence, it appears, you are not breaking the law.

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