On Saturday, January 10th, 2009 nearly 2,500 people took off their pants on subways in 22 cities around the world. In New York’s 8th Annual No Pants! Subway Ride we had over 1,200 participants, spread out over four subway lines. Enjoy the video first and then go behind the scenes with our mission report and photos.
Team Captains: Agents Good, Linder, Lovejoy, Scordelis
Digital Video: Agents Adams, EMartin, Gross, Schackman, Shafer
Digital Photography: Agents Chigirev, Fountain, Plunkett, Rosmarin, Scott, Sokoler, Zodak
If you’re unfamiliar with No Pants, you might want to first read our history of The No Pants Subway Ride.
Foley Square from above.
In the 8 years we’ve been staging our No Pants! Subway Rides in New York, it has never snowed. This year’s storm made the event all the more fun and all the more hilarious.
My cousin, Agent Fairey, recently moved into an apartment building right next to Foley Square, so we were able to get some great shots of the crowd from her roof.
Agents documenting 22 stories up
“Everyone wave to the cameras!”
I used this photo to count the total participants
The past two years we’ve had police escorts waiting for us at the meeting point. It was sort of comforting to see them there, as it meant we wouldn’t have to worry about cops showing up later on and ruining the fun. This year, the NYPD chose not to attend. Maybe they realized it wasn’t necessary? We were peaceful, as always, and didn’t run into any trouble.
A clever addition to the parks department sign at the meeting point
This year we expanded to 4 subway lines: the 1, E, R, and the traditional 6 train. We put around 300 people on each train, with individual cars growing stop by stop from 1 to 30 pantless riders. Spreading it out like this helps keep the spirit of the mission alive, at least for the first few stops. Participants had to be organized into train lines, then into cars, and finally into stops. It’s quite a bit of work, but we had four veteran IE agents serve as line captains, each equipped with their own megaphone.
Captain Good ran the 6 line
Captain Scordelis organizes the R line
Captain Lovejoy speaks to the 1 line group
Captain Linder handled the E line
This mission works by using 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.
One of the first to depants, a man waits alone for the next E train
Agent Reeves waits for the 6
I played the role of tired commuter
One guy worked on this laptop
Two women laugh as another participant enters their car
R train riders casually listen to their iPods
By the final stop, some cars had more pantless people than normal people
One woman played a harp, pantsless
Another guy had cross country ski gear on, appropriate for the snow storm
One subway musician decided to pull his pants down and enjoy the fun
Laughing at the pantsless
One woman brought her pug along for the ride!
After a dozen stops or so, participants exited their car and headed to a downtown train. Some lines even had to make a transfer through a station or up escalators.
A man checks out a participant
Guys snap camera phone pictures as they pass our riders on the escalator
Transferring at Times Square
Tourists laughing at the Times Square station
Checking out the pantsless at 125th Street
In 2007, we ran into a drummer at the 125th Street stop. A huge mob of pantless folks danced to his beat in what turned out to be a highlight for many participants. This year we ran into the same drummer again! I said hello to him, and he responded, “I missed you guys last year!” We turned around at 96th last year rather than 125th. He put on another great show to the delight of many pantless dancers. Jody Avirgan from WNYC radio did a fantastic interview with him after his performance; listen to it here.
All of the train lines converged on Union Square at the end of the mission, which means that within a short stretch of time 1,200 pantless people passed through the station’s exit turnstiles.
A participant at the Union Square station
It was about 30 degrees out and still snowing when we made it to Union Square, but everyone was having too much fun to put their pants back on. Many participants hung out in the cold for over an hour, laughing with friends new and old.
One guy didn’t even wear a shirt! Someone get him an Abercrombie gift card.
A non-participant takes his pants off to join the fun
Several people made snow angels with their bare legs
Shoppers at our favorite building look out at the pantless snow party
A spontaneous human pyramid was erected
A group of participants sing “New York, New York” and form a kick line, and this is before the drinking started.
One participant brought her two ferrets with her. Definitely a first.
Like last year, there was a counter-contingent. The “Pro Pants” group was back once again this year to try to convert us to their pants-based religion. They had two tables set up and offered a “Free Pants Test,” a pitch-perfect parody of the Scientology tables you see around the city. Participants engaged them in serious conversation, with both sides staying hilariously in character.
Agent Eppink runs the Pro Pants table
You can read all about the Pro Pants movement here.
Pro Pants Propaganda
The mission continued as participants visited nearby establishments sans pants. We heard reports of people getting kicked out of Virgin Megastore, Whole Foods, and McDonald’s. Wendy’s, however, was happy to serve the pantsless.
Agents in the Virgin Megastore, another favorite place of ours
A Starbucks barista laughs at a pantsless customer. You think it happened again five minutes later?
A nearby bar hosted an official No Pants afterparty and offered a free drink to anyone who arrived pantsless. The bar got so crowded it had to quickly stop letting people in. Participants ended up in a half dozen different bars in the Union Square area and kept the party going.
An entire pantless band, including the aforementioned harpist, performing
While we were having our fun in New York, No Pants Subway (or Light Rail or Bus) Rides were also happening in 21 other cities in 8 different countries. Via the The Urban Prankster Network we’ve set up a community of like-minded groups across the globe. Here’s a highlight photo of each regional ride along with the number of participants and the temperature in Fahrenheit.
Adelaide, Australia / 10 participants / 78 degrees (the warmest)
Amsterdam, The Netherlands / 25 participants / 26 degrees
Atlanta, GA / 26 participants / 62 degrees
Boston, MA / 100 participants / 26 degrees (yes, that’s a real fireman)
Calgary, Canada / 16 participants / 39 degrees
Chicago, IL / 130 participants / 28 degrees (and snowing)
Denver, CO / 10 participants / 43 degrees
Hamburg, Germany / 5 participants / 40 degrees
Lisbon, Portugal / 40 participants / 46 degrees
Los Angeles, CA / 200 participants / 75 degrees
Minneapolis, Minnesota / 6 participants / 17 degrees (the coldest)
Phoenix, AZ / 100 participants / 66 degrees (on a weeks old light rail)
Portland, OR / 35 participants / 41 degrees
Salt Lake City, UT / 12 participants / 35 degrees
San Francisco, CA / 50 participants / 62 degrees (the most scantily clad)
Seattle, WA / 6 participants / 43 degrees
Sydney, Australia / 20 participants / 75 degrees
Toronto, Canada / 300 participants / 21 degrees (most participants outside of NY)
Vienna, Austria / 20 participants / 24 degrees
Warsaw, Poland / 7 participants / 32 degrees
Washington DC / 100 participants / 40 degrees
There are hundreds of photos from this event. Here are our favorite flickr sets from the New York ride:
For links to more photos, videos, and news articles for all of the No Pants Subway Rides check out the posts below. The comments sections are filled with first-hand agent reports and links to more media.
Also check out our complete history of The No Pants Subway Ride.
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