NSFW: Transgender model Sarina Thai poses topless in Grand Central Station

topless grand central
Allen Henson said bystanders in Grand Central Station expressed shock and amusement while he took pictures of a topless model.
Credit: Allen Henson

Allen Henson is still fighting a lawsuit from the owners of the Empire State Building for taking topless photos on the observation deck, but that hasn’t stopped the photographer from shooting more topless pictures around the city.

Henson, 29, struck again on Sunday when he took photos of transgender model Sarina Thai inside Grand Central Station and in front of the Flatiron Building. Henson told us he wants to open a conversation about gender issues and the politics behind being topless in public. In New York City, it is legal for women to be topless in public.

He said his choice to photograph a transgender subject reflects the progressive nature of his photo series. “[Thai] is a fairly prominent transgender model – she’s pretty much a go-to,” said Henson. “It made sense with the project since a lot of the issue is about public forum and gender, so I thought this would be an interesting juxtaposition. She’s breathtaking, too.”

Henson pointed out that in some other countries, people are more open-minded when it comes to topless women in public. “It’s a cultural issue where the American mindset is opposed to a more international and developed mindset in regard to these things,” he said. “This whole exercise is more of a cultural exercise. We’re using a transgender model in a project where people are really focusing on topless women and pushing it a little further and getting people to really think about what is the actual issue here.”

Henson said though no one said anything to him in front of the Flatiron Building, a few police officers asked him what he was doing at Grand Central. “They came up saying a woman ran over frantically saying there was a nude woman in the terminal – which wasn’t the case because she was topless – so they asked some questions and walked off,” he said. “Abruptly thereafter, five of them came over and there was this hesitance – they were looking for permit issues and they said you need to do this another time and they strongly suggested I take a hike. It still seems like an awkward place where the NYPD doesn’t really know how to address these issues.”

Aside from the police officers, Henson said some bystanders at Grand Central gasped, “Oh my God,” while others took photos on their phones. Henson said he plans to release an open letter about the Empire State Building lawsuit on Wednesday.

See below for the uncensored photos.

Follow Andrea Park on Twitter: @andreapark



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