Cover Up, Ladies! Williamsburg Turf War: Tank Top Edition.


Ultra-Orthodox men don’t care if you’re suffering through the heat wave.

They care about having to see your flagrantly bare arms.

How dare you think about your own comfort in 100-degree heat!


The New York Post reports that stores run by Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Williamsburg have put signs in their windows admonishing potential customers to follow their dress code. The sign state “No Shorts, No Barefoot, No Sleeveless, No Low Neckline ALLOWED IN THIS STORE.”[sic] According to the Post, this sign is proliferating in storefronts all over the neighborhood, which has been a battleground of sorts between hipsters and Hassids for several years now.

Now, there is nothing inherently gendered about any of those regulations. And the no shoes policy is obviously a hygiene-based deal. But no shorts? No low cut tops? No BARE ARMS?

It’s really fucking hot outside.

And it’s hard not to think of these rules as being directed toward the female part of the population. Because it’s hardly the first time that women and their lack of “modesty” have been attacked by the ultra-Orthodox community.

The Post reminds us that “the neighborhood embarked on a successful 2009 crusade to remove bike lanes from a 14-block stretch of Bedford Avenue — fearful of the scantily clad gals who would pedal through.”

Which—when you think about how that must have completely forced women to bike different routes, because cyclists NEVER ride on roads without bike lanes—is not in any way a Pyrrhic victory for the neighborhood.

More recently, the religious community’s actions have been scrutinized when a privately run bus line that ran on MTA routes was revealed to have a policy of asking women to sit in the back of the bus.

There was also the little thing where Hillary Clinton and Audrey Tomason, a female member of the National Security Council, were ERASED from the photo of President Obama and his advisers in the White House Situation Room that circulated following Osama Bin Laden’s assassination because the ultra-Orthodox newspaper that used the photo didn’t want to offend its readership with pictures of women.


To sum up: Women’s very presence in the company of men is an affront to modest society, so women should cover up at all times and sit as far from men as possible, like in the back of the bus.

Cool—just so we’re clear!

Of course, residents of the ultra-Orthodox community don’t see the problem in those terms. One man, Shalom Cooper, told the Post in regard to the sign, “We have our way of life, and this is the way we want people to respect that.”

Another man, Mark Halpern, said, “We’re not concerned about the way women dress in Manhattan — but we are concerned with bringing 42nd Street to this neighborhood.”


At last some common ground!

Trust me, no one wants to bring 42nd Street to Brooklyn.

That would be terrible. The tourists, that awful naked, singing cowboy, those off-brand Sesame Street characters, the tourists.

But the problem with 42nd Street isn’t that people are wearing tank tops.

And to equate tank tops with the singing, naked cowboy is wrong on so many levels that I don’t even know where to begin.

Except to say that, Oh, right! Wearing a tank top doesn’t make you some asshole who is assaulting everyone with their crappy songs and cowboy hat!

It just makes you a human who wants to be comfortable when it’s really, really hot outside.


  1. Much worse than this is the crazy resorts in Cancun Mexico that have dining dress codes that require men to wear button down shirts, long pants and closed-toed shoes. Apparently they think it would be inappropriate for a man on vacation in a tropical climate to be comfortable.


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