We commemorate the No Pants Subway Ride. Improv Everywhere has been staging spontaneous (to outsiders) events for years now – check out their site for full coverage of all the various awesomesauce activities they get up to (my favorite is Frozen Grand Central).
This year I met up with a Do-Gooder buddy and another friend of his at the Foley Square meeting point. Probably close to a thousand people picked that spot, and the organizers divvied us up into groups for specific train lines and train cars – the idea is that we all board at once, pretending not to know eachother, and then get off in groups of 1, 2, 4, 8 etc, and get back on the same car in the next train. Only before we disembark the first train…we take our pants off. To someone sitting on the platform or on the second train, it’s like a gradual parade of apparently insane people in their undies. I wore my new bathing suit because I am a prude, but it was true to the spirit of the thing as the below picture will attest.
I think my favorite moments were:
1) While waiting to be organized in Union Square, the crowd began playing the um… Inappropriate Shoutout game, during which people take turns yelling a portion of the human anatomy increasingly loudly. Eventually an organizer with a megaphone joined in.
2) The one woman who was in the first car on the 1 train when we got on, who watched first 1 person de-pants and depart. Then 2 people. Then 4 people. And eventually busted out laughing.
3) The train conductor on the 1 train we reboarded, pantsless, who couldn’t stop laughing over the intercom "Only in New York, people. It’s art. It’s beautiful!
4) The people in Times Square as we transferred from the 1 to the N who stared, took pics, and asked plaintively "Isn’t anyone going to explain this? What exactly is supposed to be happening here?!?" Some changed destinations to follow us, others refused to use the same staircases
5) Once we all triumphantly arrived in Union Square, my compatriots and I had a conversation with two passersby who asked what was going on. The official party line was that none of us knew eachother, and we’d all just happened to forget our pants, or taken them off because they were uncomfortable. My line was that I’d left them with my other wallet.
So the three of us looked sagely over at the mass of pantsless revelers singing Bohemian Rhapsody at the feet of George Washington on horseback and said "Gee, we don’t know. I mean, that’s not something I would ever do – getting together in public and singing like that? How embarrassing."
Then we walked three blocks away to get dinner, and the restaurant owners didn’t bat an eyelash.
P.S. Sorry for the font weirdness on my last post! I swear, I reformatted it eleventy hundred times and it persisted in being weird looking. I trust you got the jist.