On a cold Saturday in New York City, the world’s largest train terminal came to a sudden halt. Over 200 Improv Everywhere Agents froze in place at the exact same second for five minutes in the Main Concourse of Grand Central Terminal. Over 500,000 people rush through Grand Central every day, but today, things slowed down just a bit as commuters and tourists alike stopped to notice what was happening around them. Enjoy the video first and then go behind the scenes with our mission report and photos.
The Main Concourse before we arrive
We met in nearby Bryant Park and synchronized our watches. We would freeze at exactly 2:30 PM. A nice mix of people of all ages and races showed up, so we would look like any random sample of New Yorkers before we froze.
The room starts to fill up moments before go time
The clock strikes 2:30
Agent Hurn films
Me: Do you know what that was?
Cop: I have no idea! That is the craziest shit I’ve ever seen in my life, AND I’M A COP!
Me: Ha. Yeah, it was weird.
Cop: You wanna sign up to be in the NYPD?
Me: No thanks.
Folks gawk and smile
I’ve put together some animations of a few of my favorite moments. It’s fun to watch each one through multiple times, focusing on different parts of the image. You can try to figure out how many people in each image are actually frozen. Agent Nicholson was not shooting from a tripod, so on some of these the image shifts slightly from frame to frame. I’ve spaced them out so you can focus on one at a time.
Notice the agent spilling the papers left center, and the agent taking his jacket off right center (this animation may not work in all browsers, get Firefox.)
Several agents froze looking at maps and train schedules
I love this woman’s expression
These agents froze taking a photo, complete with “bunny ears”
A five-minute kiss
I can only spot four agents in this photo: two black males just above the truck, the woman with the red scarf towards the left, and the white male at the bottom with glasses. Everyone else moves.
See these photos in their full resolution at Agent Nicholson’s Flickr Set.
If you participated, leave your agent report in the comments.