2016-02-03 / Front Page

It’s Time For The Annual No Pants Subway Ride

By Catherine Gioino

For fifteen years, people have been entering subway stations across the city in the middle of winter missing one thing: their pants. While the annual tradition has spread to sixty cities in more than 25 countries with tens of thousands of participants, the original subway ride had an enormous ridership of just seven. Through the years, participants were sometimes arrested, but that did not deter the thousands of people who continued to ride pantsless in the following years.

The 15th Annual “No Pants Subway Ride” took place on January 10 in various locations around the city, including two in Queens: one in Hoyt Playground in Astoria and the other at the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Park. The rules are simple: everyone wears their full winter attire doing whatever they normally would be doing on the train: reading, listening to music, texting, etc. Then they would suddenly take off their pants, depart the train, wait for the next one, and hop aboard.

Improv Everywhere started prank “missions” as they call it in August 2001, doing anything that would catch people’s attention. Said missions include the “Black Tie Beach” where people would wear tuxes and gowns at the ocean, the MP3 Experiments in which people would act out instructions from the mp3 file they had just downloaded, and the No Pants Subway Ride.

As for how the event is organized, the participants meet at their starting locations and are then split up into groups, representing the car numbers of the train, from one and up. Once they are in their groups, the participants are then assigned a number representing which stop they would take their pants off and depart. They would then stand on the platform waiting for the next train and enter the same number car they were assigned originally.

When questioned by the public as to why they were not wearing pants, any excuse would do, although the more ingenious was better appreciated. Excuses from “The dry cleaners was closed” to “Oh no! Not this dream again” were heard as unsuspecting passengers were delighted to say the least at the sight of people in their underwear.

For more information about the event as well as any upcoming pranks the group comes up with, visit their website at improveverywhere.com.


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