Last year, I was curious to see what Improv Everywhere’s no-pants day was all about it. In a nutshell, the public pranksters wreck havoc on the subways by organizing a massive no-pants ride during which a bunch of 20-somethings ride around on our subways in their skivvies.
The 2008 version of this annual day of derrieres in the subways was fun. I rode around in my underwear with 899 of my closet friends, and if you look closely on flickr, you might even find a glimpse of me sans pants.
This year’s event is set for Saturday. The organizers are urging everyone to meet at 3 p.m. in Foley Square in Lower Manhattan. It’s going to be in the low 30s or upper 20s and might snow, but everyone’s pants stay on until you’re safely underground.
Beware the No-Pants Day 2K9 crowd though. It’s becoming quite the destination, and the joke seems to take on a different meaning. The No-Pants Ride was wild in 2002 because six people did it, and it was just so weird. It gained national attention in 2006 when Improv Everywhere opened it up to the public and the police arrested a few pants-less straphangers. Last year, 900 people showed up, and while some “victims” just minding their own business were surprised, most guessed that subway cars half-full of people missing their pants was perhaps a coordinated effort.
This year, the numbers are off the charts. There’s a full-page feature on it in this week’s TimeOut New York. Charlie Todd, the event’s founder, is predicted over 1000 participants. The Facebook invite has 1500 confirmed guests and another 1600 maybes. While clearly not everyone who RSVP’d is going to show up, this has the potential to go from an amusing stunt to an overwhelming takeover of the subways.
Of course, that might just be the point. It challenges the paradigm of wearing pants on the subway, and I guarantee that unsuspecting riders on the chosen train lines won’t really know what to think. Some will be grossed out or offended. Others may join in the joke. Popularity aside, that’s the real fun of it. Meanwhile, why not try subway-map boxers? At least, you’d be winking at the joke.
After the main event, there’s a pants-less party near Union Square, and it sure is something seeing so many bare…legs…on the subway.