You know that dream where you're at work, giving an incredible presentation, when suddenly you realize that you forgot your pants?
What if we could make that dream a reality?
Likely you were wishing that you could make the dream of flying a reality, but beggars can't be choosers. The No Pants Subway ride in New York is your chance to do something in the name of silliness, taking place on January 10th.
Created by Improv Everywhere, a New York-based prank collective, the concept is the brain-child of founder Charlie Todd. The idea is as simple as it is absurd: people board a subway car at separate stops in the middle of winter without pants. The top half of them is bundled up. The bottom half of them is, shall we say, slightly chilly.
Just another Sunday commute — Photo courtesy of ImprovEverywhere.com
Pete Goldstein was at one point a participant, but he has evolved to become an organizer. "In 2002, it started as an experiment and an expansion on Improv Comedy," he says. "There were only 7 participants the first year. It has certainly evolved."
He's not kidding. With 4,000 people congregating in Union Square without pants, the potential winter gloom of January may be lightened. There are 7 or 8 different starting places around New York. Pete describes it as a two-train operation.
The Pants Off team start dressed like everyone else. On the first train, someone will take off their pants, get off the train and wait on the platform for the next one. It's New York, so people might raise an eyebrow with one pantless person, but then get back to reading their newspapers.
It's all in the casual expression — Photo courtesy of ImprovEverywhere.com
Then two people get on a couple of stops later, free of any leg warmth. Soon the whole train is half-full of people without pants.
You may be wondering, "Why?" Pete states simply, "To create chaos and joy in public places." And New York isn't the only city looking for a smile with this 100% victimless prank. This movement has swept throughout the world to places like Copenhagen, Rome, Sydney and Toronto. It has even spread beyond the subway, with a pant-free gondola ride in Aizu Fukushima, Japan.
"I have not heard of anyone having a bad experience," admits Pete. "People wonder when they can do it again!" And although you may assume this is the work of extroverts, Pete insists there is a range of people. His own son participated at 3 months old. There have been people in their late 80s. There have even been shy people who end up loving it.
Casually reading on the subway — Photo courtesy of ImprovEverywhere.com
The Improv Everywhere team strongly encourages everyone to participate (this includes you). Should you decide to take part, they do encourage people to dress modestly, "with a slant to family friendly." A sequined Speedo with an elephant trunk in front is just a "joke on top of a joke," Pete says. "It isn't necessary." Don't try too hard – tighty whities are funny enough.
Pants in January are for sissies — Photo courtesy of ImprovEverywhere.com
Although in earlier years, people have been detained, charges have never been filed. Now, cops just like to keep an eye on things to make sure that 4,000 people without pants doesn't become crazier than it already is. "Every year we try to get the cops to take off their pants, but they are never into it," laughs Pete.
There's always next year!