New York

A First-Hand, No-Pants Report from Sunday’s No-Pants Subway Ride


photos by Paul Quitoriano, full gallery of images over here.

In 28-degree weather about 3,000 people — including yours truly — took off their pants, in the 9th Annual No Pants Subway Ride on Sunday afternoon. The pantsless event was brought to us as always by the good folks at Improv Everywhere helmed by Charlie Todd, who’ve organized “scenes of chaos in public places” since 2001. This year they had not one, but six meeting points throughout New York, from Astoria to Bushwick, from which we converged in Union Square.

As a veteran pantless-subway-rider, I judged that the downtown meeting point would garner the biggest mob scene, and I trekked uptown to Central Park at 103rd in hopes of joining a smaller group. But I estimated about 300 people convened at Great Hill, including what must be the youngest participant at an Improv Everywhere mission ever.

Sarah Ludwig, 28, from Pomona in Rockland County, came with her husband and her newborn baby. (Fear not, Child Protective Services — baby was wearing a full onesie, though mom and dad went pantsless.) “I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time,” Ludwig said, holding her baby, Nicholas in a wrap-around carrier. “I’m not going to let a 4-month-old stop us.”

Big as it was, the Uptown group had only about ten experienced pantless-subway-riders, and these were assigned as “agents” to lead smaller groups, which ventured onto the B, C and 1 trains with specific instructions on when to drop their drawers. The mission alone isn’t simply about taking off your clothes in the train, but also of getting off the train, waiting on the platform for the next one, and entering another train with a whole new crowd of onlookers while in your underwear. Important rule: Keep a straight face at all times.

Charlie Huckel, celebrating his 29th birthday, and his girlfriend Shauna McCarthy, 27, were first-timers and came dressed in full formal attire.

“I wanted to dress classy for a not-so classy-event,” Huckel said.

Some people were dismayed as we began unbuttoning our coats, taking off one shoe at a time, unzipping and stripping off our pants, but mostly bystanders were smiling, if quizzically.

One unidentified man perhaps spoke for us all when he announced he was doing this for “shits and giggles.”



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