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.
Train Generals: Agents Ace$Thugg, Fiedler, Good, Lathan, Lindquist, Reeves, Scordelis, Shafeek, Shafer
Digital Video: Agents Adams, Gross, Hambly, Haskel, Joseff, Marinconz, Mendoza, Nimkin, Nussbaum, Singh, Smolkin
Digital Photography: Agents Chigirev, Fountain, Hambly, Rosmarin, Scott, Sermoneta, Sokoler, Zapata
If you’re unfamiliar with No Pants, you might want to first read our history of The No Pants Subway Ride.
The crowd at Foley Square
After having 1,200 show up in a snow storm last year, we knew this year’s attendance would be huge. When Justin Timberlake is tweeting about it, you know it’s going to be big.
As each year passes, No Pants becomes more and more like a parade– a celebration of silliness. It’s more of an international holiday than a top secret prank, but we still do our best to divide up the masses so that the prank at least starts slow and subtle. To accomplish this we expanded No Pants this year from one meeting point to six.
I ran the downtown Manhattan meeting point along with three other megaphone wielding No Pants “Generals.” We divided our crowd up into four train lines (the 6, N, E, and 1.) Before we started I polled the audience to see who had been participating the longest, making people crouch as the years counted up. Agent McFluffster was the last standing (besides me), having participated for five years. He was randomly on the train as an “audience member” for No Pants 2005 and has been participating ever since!
Agent Good ran the Central Park location up near Harlem and divided his crowd between the A and 1 trains.
Central Park participants
Agent Ace$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.)
Agent (Rob) 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:
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.
Also check out our complete history of The No Pants Subway Ride.
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