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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

N.Y. Sun Rises on Moons

NEW YORK -- New York police officers only chuckled when nearly 100 people stripped naked early Sunday morning under Manhattan's Williamsburg Bridge.

In fact, under order of the U.S. Supreme Court, the officers didn't arrest the dozens of people who got naked in the name of free speech.

Photographer Spencer Tunick fought his way to the highest court in the nation to protect his First Amendment right allowing him to photograph a throng of naked people in a public space.

On Saturday, the Supreme Court said Tunick had the right to express himself by taking the nude photographs despite state law criminalizing public nudity.

"It's a victory for myself and any contemporary artist working with the body," Tunick said Sunday at 5:30 a.m. local time after the 20-minute shoot in which the crowd of mostly hip young urbanites shed their clothes and laid naked on the pavement.

The models had many reasons f besides a free copy of the picture f to get up early, or in many cases stay up late, to get naked for art.

"I did it to piss off Rudy," said Jay, who declined to give his last name, referring to New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, the former Senate candidate, who has a history of battling art he deems offensive.

Giuliani had argued the photo shoot would pose safety problems because it would draw traffic to the area and that it was an invasion of the neighbors' privacy.

"The city woke up this morning and didn't skip a beat," said Ronald Kuby, Tunick's pony-tailed celebrity lawyer.

Kuby referred to a long list of Giuliani's failed free speech challenges, including his battle with the Brooklyn Museum over a controversial exhibit that depicted the Virgin Mary with elephant dung.

Last year, a federal judge ruled that the mayor violated the U.S. Constitution by trying to evict the museum and cut off its funding. The city ended up settling the case in March for $5.8 million.

"The government shouldn't choose my background," Tunick said when asked about Giuliani's campaign to end the shoot.

Tunick is internationally known for his nude photos. He and his models have been arrested a number of times. In December 1994, he and a model were arrested when the latter posed nude at Rockefeller Center in New York City.

Weird Moscow will return next week.