No Pants on the Subway

212Access January 8, 2013 Comments Off on No Pants on the Subway

By Anisa Arsenault

How many times have you been too lazy to put on pants? Now you can do it in New York City without getting arrested.

The 12th annual No Pants Subway Ride takes place on Sunday January 13th in New York. For those who have never heard of the no-pants ride, it’s essentially a prank on tourists and it works like this.

New Yorkers “in the know” register in advance at this website where they learn of the secret locations to meet.

Under the prank, random passengers board subways at different stops, behaving normally, sans pants. There are just two stipulations: participants must be willing to take their pants off on the subway, and they must be able to keep a straight face about it. They should wear normal winter clothes and bring a backpack and Metrocard.

During the first No Pants Subway Ride, logistics were not much of an issue; only seven people participated. But now the event has garnered a much wider following, reaching almost 4,000 participants in New York in 2012. Improv Everywhere has responded accordingly, spelling out step-by-step directions on their website. This year, the event will start at 3 PM sharp with six meeting points to choose from:

  • Astoria- Hoyt Playground
  • Brooklyn- Old Stone House
  • Downtown Manhattan- Foley Square
  • Queens- Flushing Meadows Park
  • Uptown Manhattan- Great Hill in Central Park
  • Williamsburg/Bushwick- Maria Hernandez Park

After being separated into groups, participants will enter their respective subway station (pants still on!) as strangers. At a predetermined stop, the pants come off. That’s when you exit the train confidently pantless, and wait on the platform for your next train. Improv Everywhere has come up with some nonchalant responses for anyone who questions your sparse wardrobe, including “I was getting uncomfortable,” or simply “I forgot to wear pants.”

Is this okay? Are there any legal concerns to consider?

In 2006, the whole operation was shut down by a cop. The train was taken out of service, and eight people were taken into custody. A month after the improv event, all chargers were dismissed. It is not, in fact, illegal to wear your underwear in public in the Big Apple.

Just a month after SantaCon packed our subways with Santa Clauses, the average commuter may be wary of another out-of-the-ordinary transit experience. (But what is an ordinary subway experience? If nobody has done a complete front flip during my commute, I’m not pleased.) Improv Everywhere is aware of this, and their website urges people to be conscientious: “Be nice and friendly and normal… Don’t wear a thong or anything else that might offend people. Our aim is to make people laugh, not piss them off.”

The planned No Pants Subway route merges all bare-legged passengers around Union Square. But you won’t have to pull those trousers on yet. Improv Everywhere will host a pantless after party at Bar 13 on 13th street.

Don’t forget to choose your underwear carefully this Sunday. And if this whole idea makes you commuters uncomfortable, you may want to stand very clear of the closing doors from 3-5 PM.

We posted videos from previous years below so you can know what to expect.

No Pants Subway 2012

No Pants Subway 2011