Featuring: Kinney, Todd, Keech, Sklaren, Kula, Dippold, Shelktone, Barrison, Appel, Woods, Winckler, Leonard, Montague, Lathan, Marhekifson, Amy, MacNeil, Wengert, StephenG, Ritter, Scherer, Zeghbib, Ciletti, Arnheiter, Green Arrow, Mullaney, Gauteron, DeSoto, MSzilagyi, Palmigiano, Mayer, Tavel, Ace$thugg, T, Glaser, Purnell, Rainswept
Digital Photography: Agent Rainswept
This year’s event was covered by 20/20 correspondent Bill Ritter. As before, we performed the mission twice: once uptown and once downtown. Enjoy the photos and agent reports!
Agent Todd is the first to remove his pants
Agents Leonard and Ace$Thugg
Agents Appel and Wengert
Agent Winckler in his striped briefs
The first phase of the mission was completed with almost too much precision. I was in the last group, led by the intrepid Agent Kula. On an almost imperceptible signal from our fearless section leader, we sprang into action, depantsing and shifting into the next car.
The second phase was the most successful: embarking from 125th Street, the car was crowded, the vendors timed their entrance superbly, the agents kept their cover, and the mission worked brilliantly.
Agent Winckler, again
I was in the last group to go, and spent most of the second trip in the very back of the rear car… A guy had come onto the train with me and we both watched in resigned disbelief as wave after wave got up. Right as the group in front of me finished de-panting, he looked up to say something to me, as we both were clearly confused. Unfortunately, before he could open his mouth, I got up and moved to the center of the car… he could only shake his head.
Right when Team Kula was about to step out of the last car pantless, my iPod cued up Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds.” And how, iPod – and HOW.
Agent Ritter of ABC News’ 20/20
When I entered the car without my pants on, I immediately headed for the back, where nobody was standing. I was pretending to read the subway map, when some woman points right at my nether region and says “I don’t need to see that!!!” Sure she didn’t need to see it, but deep down she knows that she wanted to.
My favorite exchanges with strangers:
Me: What are they saying?
Squishy kid in Yellow jacket: They sellin’ pants.
Squishy: No, pants. Why they sellin’ pants?
Me: I don’t know, but thank God! (go buy some)
(minutes later, after pants acquisition)
Me: You should get some. They’re really good.
Squishy: Nah, I don’t think so.
Me: Okay, but they’re really good.
A few minutes later, after I exchanged the skirt I’d bought for some men’s exercise pants:
Lady with scary hair: (somewhat patronizingly) Did you “forget” your pants too?
Me: Yeah. Weird.
Lady: How do you “forget” pants?
Me: I’m a dancer. I spend so much time not wearing pants that I don’t even think about it.
Lady: That’s kind of weird.
Me: I’m sorry. Have a nice day!
On the second run, I sat next to some creepy 14-year-old-looking junior pervert who kept trying to touch my legs. One of the camera guys was filming this, and was keeping such a close eye that I could tell he had my back. Jr. P eventually got up and went to see who else was pantsless. I was a little disappointed, because I really wanted to talk to him.
The best part of this was seeing Agent Appel walk around in my velvet drawstring leisures. Lucky for him I wore pants with a little give- imagine his discomfort had I worn my usual size 0 jeans.
Agent Green Arrow
I would have to say that of all the highlights of the afternoon, most fun for me was how excited I was to have actually found and purchased my own pants and how in my excitement, I put my foot right through the front of my jeans. I literally ripped my jeans right at the knee.
Also, the old woman begging on the subway in Harlem was a real treat. She had no idea what she was walking into. After a little bit though, I heard her say, “Oh, I’ll take my pants off too!”
Woman begging for change
My favorite moment went down on the 2nd trip. While waiting in the back car, a woman entered the train begging for change. Initially, she was really down in the dumps. Then, she noticed people taking off their pants, and she just started laughing. I think we made her day!
Agent Barrison and Audience Member
During the second ride, there was a guy on the train who was practically had a seizure he was laughing so hard. He began laughing when I walked into the car and sat next to him. Then when I was fixing my makeup he started to laugh even harder…then Agent Winckler came on the train in wearing striped bikini briefs and the man lost it entirely. It was really nice to see that kind of reaction.
At the end of the mission, when we were all putting our pants back on…and I was waiting for one of the agents to give me back my skirt, a man stopped me and told me that he really wanted to give me his pants, except they were really expensive and matched the shirt he was wearing.
I saw several subway riders with very confused and embarrassed looks on their faces as they entered the train and immediately saw several people with no pants on. It was as if they were in the wrong, and that they mistakenly gotten on the train wearing pants. You could tell this surreal feeling was hitting them right off the bat.
My favorite comment was, “Oh my Gawd!, No he didn’t.”
Agent Dippold vends pants for $1
I made sure to get a receipt (which I still have in my wallet), in case I decided to re-gift my pants purchase at a later date. I also made sure to ask where I might find the pants-vendor later if I decided to return my purchase.
Audience Member with hats for sale
I was in the last group to enter the car without pants on. I observed some confused stares and continued to read. Then the comments started:
A young couple sitting directly in front of me -
Man: “I really wish I knew what was going on.”
Woman: “Some kind of mass hysteria.”
A 30 something year old woman, finally catching on –
“Those aren’t just shorts, they are boxers!”
A confused Asian woman -
Woman: “I don’t understand what is going on here, why are you doing this?”
Me: “Well I was in such a hurry this morning that I forgot my pants. I’m cold.”
Woman: “But everyone else? Why are they in underwear?”
Me: “Oh, I’m not sure. That’s weird.”
I looked at Agent Todd and he agreed that he too had forgot his pants.
Two women were inching away from me when I sat down next to them trying to put my $1 pants on. But then on the way off the train, one did say that this was the best trip on the subway she’d ever had.
Agent Palmigiano wears newly purchased pants
On the way downtown, I was standing up in the middle. I was going to ask this woman for directions but another agent had the same idea. A third agent asked her where you could buy cheap pants, and when she didn’t have an answer, I suggested Cheap Jack’s at Union Square, adding that I wasn’t sure if it was actually all that cheap.
Finally, a handsome, middle-aged businessman asked me what was going on.
BUSINESSMAN: What’s going on?
ME: I’m sorry?
BUSINESSMAN: Why is everyone wearing shorts?
ME: Oh…is everyone? Oh, yeah. Look at that. I don’t know about them, but my wife always tells me that I would forget my head if it wasn’t attached. Usually I forget my cell phone. Today I remembered both my cell phone and my Palm Pilot, but I forgot the pants.
BUSINESSMAN: You picked a bad day to forget pants.
AGENT ACE$THUGG: I forgot my pants too, man. Which sucks because I’m going on a camping trip.
BUSINESSMAN: So you’re not going to tell me. This is one of those psychological experiments or something.
Agent Winckler puts his pants back on
The reactions by the innocent bystanders seemed to get better on the way down. Right away when we entered the car with no pants on, we got a huge reaction from this guy. Let’s call him Randy for the sake of argument. Randy was laughing hysterically the whole time. I think the concept of someone traveling on the subway without any pants just blew his mind. He especially enjoyed it when someone (not wearing pants) would pull a book out to read or another person (again without pants) would listen to his iPod, as if not having any pants on was no big deal: “No pants? No problem!” That was our motto to him. And I think it was also his own motto to himself. Randy was with us the whole way. He would’ve done the exact same thing if he wasn’t wearing any pants.
Finally I think around the Hunter College exit, Randy got up and to no one in particular he said, “You guys are awesome!” Then he exited. Out of our lives forever. But somewhere out there I can see Randy traveling by himself on a subway train – maybe its the 4,5,6 – maybe it’s the J,M,Z. It doesn’t really matter. And he’s just minding his own business, perhaps reading a book or listening to tunes on his MP3 player. And of course – he’s not wearing any pants.
And that’s all you can ask of a mission like No Pants 2K4. If you change just one life – one person, it’s all worth it in the end. Or at least that’s what I’d like to think.
Agent Ritter interviews IE Agents post-mission