On Saturday January 12th, 2008 nearly 2,000 people took off their pants on subways in 10 cities around the world. In New York’s 7th Annual No Pants! Subway Ride we had around 900 participants, spread out over three subway lines. Enjoy the videos first and then go behind the scenes with our mission report and photos.
Team Captains: Agents Good, Lovejoy, Kinney
Digital Video: Agents Adams, Curtis, Gross, Cacy, Shafer
Digital Photography: Agents Nicholson, Sokoler, Scott, Goralnick, Randyc
900 people arrive at the meeting point
Our No Pants mission has grown quite a bit from the small, subtle, seven-person operation from 2002. Ever since the police handcuffed 8 participants back in 2006, the news media has gone completely crazy over the concept of pantless subway riders. The amount of coverage both before and after this year’s event is beyond absurd, but ultimately the more people who learn about it and participate, the better. It’s an old idea, but this year hundreds of people were experiencing it for the first time, and no matter how much publicity it gets, in a city of 8 million plus tourists, there will always be people who have no idea what is happening.
In many ways, No Pants has turned into an annual parade, complete with police escorts.
The police were super friendly this year. They both had never heard of us before, and were amused when they found out they were on “No Pants Detail.” In year’s past we’ve always used the 6 train, but with a crowd three times the size of last year, I decided to expand it to the 2 and R trains as well, both a short walking distance from our meeting point. This put around 300 people on each line, with each car growing stop by stop from 1 to 30 pantless riders. Spreading it out like this helps keep the spirit of the mission alive. While much of the day was complete insanity, there were still moments on each car where one or two pantless riders stood amongst a car of regular folks with no cameras in sight.
Organizing 900 people
Thankfully it was 50 degrees out
Team Leader Agent Good talks to his group
300 people head for the 6 train as others head to the R and 2 trains
Like last year, we actually used two separate trains for each line. For the first train the effect is that at every stop new people are standing up, removing their pants, and leaving the train. People on the second train then see pantless subway riders waiting on the platform and entering their car at each stop.
As my group boarded our assigned car and sat calmly waiting for the train to move, I realized that I didn’t know a single person in the group. We were all strangers to each other. In many ways, we were just like a normal train car, a bunch of strangers quietly sitting and ignoring each other. The key difference was that we all knew that we would soon be seeing each other pantless.
I got off at the first stop and passed the time reading Agent Ace$Thugg’s new book.
At the first stop one rider got out from each of the ten cars. As the train pulled away, the ten of us were left spread out along the platform. Two guys walked by all of us, laughing hysterically and giving us reviews of our underwear. “Nice! Classic, polka dots with bright orange backdrop,” they shouted to me as they went past.
People always want to know what the male/female ratio is at No Pants. Over the past 7 years it’s gone from 0% to about 50% female.
People gawking at the pantless from across the platform
As usual, we got all sorts of different reactions from people. Most laughed and smiled. Some looked around with wild bewilderment. Others tried to ignore us. A few got angry and offended. There was a woman who was standing next to me for 10 stops. She didn’t crack a smile the whole time or give any indication that she even noticed what was happening. Right before her stop, she took out a camera phone and calmly took exactly one picture before exiting the train. Even she couldn’t resist.
Although our participants are instructed to play things completely straight, and to insist that they simply forgot their pants and do not know the other pantless riders, this year there was just a touch of winking happening in the book choices made by some riders.
Agent Siegel, who was handcuffed in his underwear in 2006, reads “You Are Going To Prison”
After heading uptown, the R and 6 train riders got out and boarded a downtown train to Union Square for our post-mission meet up. As the 2 train doesn’t stop at Union Square, its riders actually made a transfer at Times Square to the R, which resulted in a hilarious parade of pantless folks marching through the station.
It was even crazier at Union Square as the three trains converged and poured all 900 riders out into the station.
Everyone gathered above ground in the park and most kept their pants off. The mild 50 degree day really made it quite comfortable to go pantless.
A few regular folks in the park decided to take their own pants off and join in on the fun. It was contagious.
Random woman removes pants to the delight of crowd
Two men decide to join the group
This year there were even a few agents (counter-agents?) who showed up with their own agenda: to spread the word of pants. They handed out pro-pants brochures that read like hilarious religious tracts, and tried to prosthelyze the pantsless. They even had their own t-shirts. There was much screaming and shouting as they clashed with the angry pantless mob.
No Pants has grown into a huge social event, with participants making fast friends with each other. Many folks show up alone and end up meeting tons of new people. There were several unofficial after-parties at various nearby pubs. The mission continued into the night as entire bars were filled with pantless patrons. Some got a little drunk, it seems.
While participating, it was fun to think about the fact that there were people in 9 other cities in 3 countries doing the exact same thing.
It was summertime in Adelaide, Australia (78 degrees)
It was a cold 39 degrees outside in Chicago, IL
San Francisco, CA
Salt Lake City, UT
The Today Show even made a national map of the event.
We have compiled an exhaustive list of flickr photo sets, videos, and news articles from all 10 regional No Pants Subway Rides and put it all together in one post. From Lester Holt of The Today Show laughing about us to a Turkish newscast talking about us in Turkish, it’s all here for your enjoyment: No Pants Complete Photos & Video Worldwide
There are also tons and tons of mission reports detailing the experiences of participants from the New York and regional rides. Everyone has their own personal story from their own unique experience:
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