Being a little cold paid off with a lot of a fun this past Sunday afternoon when hundreds of New Yorkers got on the subway after getting off their pants for the No Pants Subway Ride 2019 in NYC.
The fun began at 3 p.m., when people in three boroughs boarded trains in a coordinated pantsless journey organized by the comedy troupe Improv Everywhere. The idea is not to shock — underwear is requested to be modest, while participants wear all their usual winter garb — but a rare chance to make people smile on a subway system that hasn’t had much to laugh about these days.
As the photos show, the exercise was a success. Bemused NYPD officers looked on as the pantless crowds rode the rails for two hours, before gathering at an afterparty near Union Square.
The tradition started in 2002 with just seven Improv Everywhere members, just a “small prank” that’s grown into an international “celebration of silliness.” New Yorkers from Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens were joined by thousands of others across the world in two dozen cities. Riders in Brisbane, Australia where it’s summer right now were surely more comfortable, while Canadians in Toronto were even colder than us.
“The idea behind No Pants is simple,” the event’s mission statement reads. “Random passengers board a subway car at separate stops in the middle of winter without pants. The participants behave as if they do not know each other, and they all wear winter coats, hats, scarves, and gloves. The only unusual thing is their lack of pants.”
There are only two main No Pants Subway Ride rules: Be willing to take off your pants on the subway, and keep a straight face about it. Read a newspaper, browse your phone, bring a book — it’s just another day in New York City! If anyone asks, you just “forgot to wear pants.” Hey, stranger things have happened.