Home MTA Absurdity Riding the subway, with no pants

Riding the subway, with no pants

by Benjamin Kabak

Ah, January. It’s a brisk time of year for New York. The temperatures are hovering in the low 20s, and people ride the trains bundled up in layers of coats and sweaters. Yet, for one group of fun-loving New Yorkers, January is also the time for the No Pants Subway Ride.

For the last eight years, the instant-comedy group Improv Everywhere has hosted the No Pants Subway Ride in New York City, and this afternoon, unsuspecting straphangers will witness the ninth No Pants Ride. Last year, 1200 people dropped trou on the trains, and even more are expected later today.

So here are the details for this year’s event. For the first time in the history of this voyeuristic event, Improv Everywhere will tackle the outer boroughs. Those who wish to participate should meet at the following locations at 3 p.m.:

Astoria: Meet at Hoyt Playground
Downtown Brooklyn: Meet at Prospect Park
Downtown Manhattan: Meet at Foley Square
Queens: Meet at the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Park
strong>Uptown Manhattan: Meet at the Great Hill in Central Park
Williamsburg / Bushwick: Meet at Bushwick Park (AKA Maria Hernandez Park)

The event will culminate in a pants-less gather at Union Square shortly after. At around 4 p.m., the Union Square area should be teeming with too many people wearing only underwear and exiting the subway.

I won’t be participating this year. Two years ago, I joined my one and only No Pants Subway Ride at a time when around 900 other people joined me. At that point, enough New Yorkers didn’t know what was happening for the ride to be a gimmicky and funny and novel. Now, though, at least 1500 people will arrive, and nearly everyone is expecting someone to take his or her pants off this afternoon.

If you’re riding the rails and see it happening, enjoy the absurdity. If you’re participating, good luck. For the rest of us who may just be trying to get from Poitnt A to Point B, well, good luck with that too.

You may also like


JPN January 10, 2010 - 6:55 am

For sure this is going to be expected. I’ve heard it repeated on WINS-AM radio for several hours now. The question is, will the temperature affect things?

Chicken Underwear January 10, 2010 - 8:55 am

“Downtown Brooklyn: Meet at Prospect Park”

Where is that?

Benjamin Kabak January 10, 2010 - 12:05 pm

Oops. My bad. I forgot the pertinent detail. They’re meeting at the 15th St. F stop at the southwest corner of the park.

Beware: People Without Pants on the Subway : Westside Independent January 10, 2010 - 1:52 pm

[…] the closest gathering spot for Upper West Siders is on the Great Hill in Central Park at 3 p.m. Second Avenue Sagas has more. And check out this video from last year’s ride: Post […]

Building 11 January 10, 2010 - 5:40 pm

But what’s the point to all of this, except for seeing how many people will need treatment for hypothermia later on?

Jerrold January 10, 2010 - 7:54 pm

I’m surprised that they don’t have this event in the SUMMER instead.

Jerrold January 10, 2010 - 8:00 pm

Coming to think of it, maybe they figure that people in their underpants will stand out even MORE in the winter, when nobody is wearing regular street shorts.

JPN January 10, 2010 - 9:26 pm

I’m a lucky one! I boarded the L train at DeKalb Avenue at the center of the train, thinking I would be late. Then in each station from Jefferson to Bedford(!), at least 3 people without pants boarded my car, including a couple with a 7-year-old-looking boy. I sensed some of the non-pantsless people still weren’t aware of the event, including the conductor of the train at 8th Avenue. I was too hasty to judge. My camera shots now serve as a remembrance of this event, thankful to have experienced it.

Roy Berman January 11, 2010 - 5:06 am

After a message board post on Sunday (Japan time) called for people to pull the same stunt on Tokyo’s Yamanote line, the police stationed SIXTY officers at the suggested gathering point. With that level of security, naturally, nobody took their pants off and nothing happened whatsoever.


petey January 11, 2010 - 1:57 pm



Leave a Comment