On Sunday, January 10th, 2010 over 5,000 people took off their pants on subways in 44 cities around the world. In New York, our 9th Annual No Pants! Subway Ride had over 3,000 participants, spread out over six meeting points and ten subway lines. Enjoy the video first and then go behind the scenes with our mission report and photos.
If you’re unfamiliar with No Pants, you might want to first read our history of The No Pants Subway Ride
The crowd at Foley Square
After having 1,200 show up in a snow storm last year, we knew this year’s attendance would be huge. When Justin Timberlake is tweeting about it, you know it’s going to be big.
As each year passes, No Pants becomes more and more like a parade– a celebration of silliness. It’s more of an international holiday than a top secret prank, but we still do our best to divide up the masses so that the prank at least starts slow and subtle. To accomplish this we expanded No Pants this year from one meeting point to six.
I ran the downtown Manhattan meeting point along with three other megaphone wielding No Pants “Generals.” We divided our crowd up into four train lines (the 6, N, E, and 1.) Before we started I polled the audience to see who had been participating the longest, making people crouch as the years counted up. Agent McFluffster was the last standing (besides me), having participated for five years. He was randomly on the train as an “audience member” for No Pants 2005 and has been participating ever since!
Agent Good ran the Central Park location up near Harlem and divided his crowd between the A and 1 trains.
Central Park participants
Agent Ace$Thugg ran the Prospect Park Brooklyn location (F train.)
A family participating together at the Prospect Park spot
Agent Scordelis ran the Bushwick location (L train.)
) Lathan ran the Astoria Queens location (N train.)
Agents Pavlovich and Purnell organize participants into car numbers
Agent Shafer ran the Flushing Queens location (7 train.) They met out at the old World’s Fairgrounds, in front of the Unisphere.
The first stop on the 6 train
The mission started the same way on each of the 100 cars we took over. One person stood up, removed their pants, and exited the train to wait on the platform for the next one. This left lots of nice moments with people by themselves in their underwear.
This was the first year that we used train lines that had outdoor sections. Participants in parts of Brooklyn and Queens had to wait out in the 28 degree cold for the next train to arrive.
As No Pants grows, the thing I am most proud of is the increased diversity. When No Pants started in 2002, it was seven white males in their early to mid twenties. As each year has passed, we’ve seen increased diversity in gender, age, and ethnicity. This was the first year that the participants looked like a true representation of New York City. Sure, it still skews young, with lots of student participation, but I saw several sets of mother/daughter teams, families, babies, and grandparents. We had dozens of high school kids from the Bronx participating as well as people who traveled from places like Mexico and The Netherlands just to experience No Pants in New York (and both of those countries had their own local rides!) Folks will probably still continue to dismiss No Pants as a “hipster” event, but they’re dead wrong.
Making a transfer
The individual choices and differences amongst participants are always fun.
An agent in formal attire
Agent Corey, pregnant
A laptop user
Reading “Wrestling for Beginners”
(though he can’t be that much of a novice if he’s already won a belt!)
This guy was awesome
As usual we got a wide variety of reactions from the New Yorkers we encountered. Certainly more than a few had heard about it or even seen it before, but in a city of eight million (plus tourists), there will always be people having their first run-in with pantless train riders.
Masses of people transferring at Times Square
All of the train lines converged on Union Square at the end of the mission, which means that within a short stretch of time 3,000 pantless people passed through the station’s exit turnstiles. Although the mission really ends when you exit the train, for some participants the party has just begun. As in years past, many (if not most) participants chose to remain pantless in Union Square for hours. All sorts of random fun was created on the spot: dance battles, conga lines, duck duck goose, etc! Some folks kept their pants off for the rest of the night, taking the train home in their underwear after a night of pantless drinking and dining.
The masses above ground at Union Square
Posing for photos in the station post mission
You may remember that we had trouble with the police in 2006
, but since then the NYPD has been wonderful towards us. This year they were in especially good spirits, laughing and posing for photos with participants at Union Square.
With thousands of people standing in Union Square in their underwear, some participants got the bright idea to get everyone to Look Up
For the third year in a row, there was a counter-contingent. The “Pro Pants” group was back once again to try to convert us to their pants-based religion. They went all out this year with pamphlets, sandwich boards, and free pairs of pants. You can read Agent Eppink’s documentation of Pro Pants on his site
Agent Eppink prosthelytizing
Do you need pants?
All of the No Pants Generals got together to take a group photo at the end. I can’t believe we had nine megaphones.
No Pants 2010 Subway Ride Generals
(L-R) Back: Agents Good, Todd, Shafer, Lindquist, Fiedler
Front: Agents Scordelis, Lathan, Ace$Thugg, Reeves
The prank lives on into the night, returning to the subtle nature of the beginning with people walking around all alone in their underwear.
While we were having our fun in New York, No Pants Subway (or Light Rail or Bus) Rides were also happening in 43 other cities in 16 different countries. I uploaded a highlight photo of each regional ride to flickr. Justine Bateman appears in the Los Angeles photo. I think that makes her our first celebrity No Pants participant, though several past participants have gone on to television fame. Their faces in photos of past years are like Easter eggs now. Anyway, it’s fun to see photos from people doing the same silly thing all over the world:
No Pants Regional Rides Photo Set
Finally, I’m not sure if Pete Wentz, the bassist for Fall Out Boy, ran into us in New York or Los Angeles, but either way, this cracked me up:
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.
NYC Agent Reports
Regional Agent Reports
Also check out our complete history of The No Pants Subway Ride.
My god, two tweets? No-Pants is certainly getting big. Lady GaGa would be proud of her fellow New Yorkers.
Lady Gaga does this all of the time… slut… but for today well that day it was fine but when little kids look up to people like Lady Gaga and she wears barely anything… thats where it needs to stop… the rest is all in good fun! I <3 It…
Toronto’s video is up as well!
A week later and I’m still smiling from doing this – props to all who did ;-)
This is awesome! Really funny to see it all!
This is great :D
Pete ran into you in NYC
Wow, Matt and all, great video and great audio – I love the audience reactions that you caught. Lets do it even greater next year – – – Excelsior!!
Awesome work! :)
And, here is a pic from my iPhone of it in D.C. : http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=42090269&l=bd4bee973a&id=23315168
We had such a good time that my friends and I met up at Union Square and kept the good times rolling. We went to eat dinner without our pants in Korea-Town at 32nd street (of course, pantless on the N subway to get there) at GamMiOk. Got stares, but we also got dinner served! Then we went pantless back to Union Square to bowl at BowlMor. More stares (and smiles) and a fellow bowler that got inspired and went pantless himself. Then we taxi’d it pantless to the Village Cinemas to finish watching a movie (It’s Complicated) without our pants. What a fantastic nite!
We also posted San Francisco photos and videos: http://laughingsquid.com/no-pants-subway-ride-2010-sf-photos-videos/
Awesome! As a participant this year, I posted it to my blog and commented on the reactions a little: http://cityofnever.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/no-pants-subway-ride-2010/
I am still stoked I did this! I wanted to make the video…but didn’t want people I know to see me. It’s perfect. I found myself in the shot of Union Station. Hooray!
Greetings to all!
The event was a true success! BIG THANKS to ImprovEverywhere from all of us here in Vancouver!!
Stand up and play!
We’re so excited to see our family in the recap; at 4.5 months, Cole may have been the youngest observer – his agent report is here: http://coleemmett.blogspot.com/2010/01/my-very-first-ride-on-subway.html
Maybe in a few years, he will be a full participant – we had a fabulous time and plan to make it a family tradition!
Absolutely fantastic, as always! Have you franchised/expanded internationally? Would love to set up something in Tel Aviv…
But is there any footage from the no pants ride in tokyo!?!?
Unfortunately, Tokyo’s event was not a success at all.
The cops were notified prior to the event and even had photo copies of facebook profile pictures. Every foreigner they came across were talked to and were strongly urged not to go ahead and take part of the event as it will lead to an arrest.
Not confirmed, but there was a family of four, three of whom were female and they did managed to go pantless on the train, but were apprehended and received a reprimand by the authorities.
Had such a great time! Props to Improv Everywhere for starting the No Pants movement… Double props to Agent Todd for creating such a hilariously awesome group!
In this crazy world, it is so heartening to see worthy activities being supported. next year, will have the office calendar reflect No Pants and we will join in. Thanks for this.Ordered Agent Todd’s book as gifts this year. Best investment yet!
I’m miffed! I want to be a participant with the improvs. I must have been out of town on that day…would have love to be a part of it.
Did you hear about the environmental protesters in China who were inspired by this? The went pantsless for a cause (beyond just fun) and risked arrest – http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/01/chinese-climate-activists-risk-arrest-strip-public-protest.php
Yes. Not sure why they did it a week after us and why they added a cause. Oh well.
This was just too great. I was freezing at Jay st but I loved every minute of it! Cant wait for next year!
Love it, love it, love it! This world needs some fun, harmless, silliness. Thanks everybody who put this together and participated!
I have got to be there for this next year. Glad to see the NYPD has a sense of humor:)
Peace and pants (or not)
here was a video from vienna, Austria http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYHbfvUQ1Ec
Love the “WTF” of a passenger at 1:51!
Do you need pants? Ask your doctor if pants are right for you.
(Also, if you go without pants for more than four hours, be sure to call your doctor.)
I simply don’t understand what’s ‘improv’ at all about being told to behave in a certain way on a certain day. Extreme conservative conformity like this always saddens me. When you travel by underground/metro everyday you simply find natural, spontaneous pockets of unconformity everywhere (whether you like it or not). Not this kind of pre-packaged McArt, nonsense.
It was originally a group of several guys that did it back in 01. Don’t be so critical. Maybe you should unconform from the non-conforming sentiment that most young ‘independent’ people tend to have over the past half a century. Grow up and have some fun, these 5000 or so people obviously did.
In Improv, you ARE told what to do… no matter what kind of Improv. The only difference between Improv and non-Improv is that in Improv there are no specific scripts and that Improv is done either for comedy or for training in all cases. In Chicago (where people talk on the train), people made stuff up on the spot. For example, “I was late for work and I left my pants at home.” And, “I’m trying to cut down on my use of synthetic fibers.” In addition (in Chicago this year), there were things like the random Hokey Pokey, which the reports above state happened in New York as well. If one guy just decided to randomly take off his pants for fun, that wouldn’t be improv. it would be a guy. In addition, even if there was nothing “Improv” about the group at all… who cares?? In that case it would just be what they decided to call it. What is royal about Burger King? What is American about Cash America? Nothing.
I couldn’t make the event that day but was at a party later that night and while talking to a friend he asked me if I had ridden the subway that day. I said I had knowing exactly where this conversation was going and then he asked if a lot of people on my train weren’t wearing pants. I laughed and explained Improve Everywhere. In retrospect I should have said no and talked about how weird and crazy that must have been.
I would love to participate in this one day! ^^; It’s amazing what Improv Everywhere can do! :) I also hope that Improv expands so that I can become an agent ;D
This is awesome, love seeing the reactions. I bought one of your compilation cd’s for a drama class last year. If you guys are ever in WA state I would so love to participate. (not sure I’d have guts to do the no pants scene- but who knows).
Looks like this trend is catching on! Check out these guys in China:
in Phoenix, AZ >
in portland, oregon: ( with video )
NY > http://www.kptv.com/news/22200816/detail.html
San francisco >
I had a blast! I especially loved recieving informational brochures about pants. lol
You all have soooo much fun in NYC!!! Wish I could have been there!!! Keep up the Improvs, as I try to live vicariously thru all of you here in boring CT.
How could non-conformity defined by bunch of people conforming to Improv’s ideas? Just a thought! Shouldn’t all INDIVIDUALS be improving by themselves? Just kind of beats the purpose…dont you think?
props to all these participants braving the winter weather – and MAD props to the men who wore extra fancy underpants! sadly, i moved from NYC in december for i would have loved to be an “innocent bystander.” thanks for your talk at creative mornings, too!
I like watching the different responses from people. It’s quite interesting to see how people respond out of their usual comfort zones.
Only in NewYork City! Thank God there were no thongs! It’s wonderful to see how you can put a smile on people’s facees who may be stressed and miserable, if only for a few minutes. Youth, sillyness and laughter is exhilarating!
well, we did this in prague three years ago…
i seriously cant wait for next year
THIS WAS FANTASTICKLE
How exciting this must’ve been…and soooo many nice pairs of legs! owwwwwwww! kudos! i wish i couldve been a part of the one here in philly….ahhh, maybe next yr….
I am trying to organize a “Bare Genitals day” mostly young ladies and extremely old men! Should be quite a laugh especially in January.
Haha. Two different superbowl ads have been based on the premise of people wearing no pants already.
Wow- you made it in the NEWS!!! CBS has you guys on their site!
excellentttttttttt ;-) Come in FRANCE
omg! this is fantstic!! i applaude you all :D
got great ideas from you guys! will do this for our annual company fun trip. i’ll break up the group into smaller ones which are manageable but with maximum exposure. will identify 6 spots and then do it all the same time- carrying our brand (printed) on our back!i’ll give u feedback and maybe upload video too.
GREAT stuff and super funny, but what was the cause or aim attached to this day without pants? Awareness raising of….?