Sunday marked the 13th Annual No Pants Subway Ride in New York City. You may have caught the piece on Untapped Cities this morning by Luke Kingma, who discusses the heavy journalistic and photographer’s presence at the event. But if you were looking for photos of pantsless people, you may have been disappointed. To rectify that, we present this photographic look from the participant perspective at the Lower East Side meetup point.
No Pants Subway Ride is hosted and organized by Improv Everywhere. With over 4,000 participants in New York City alone, this event takes place in over 60 cities in the world and over 25 countries. The No Pants Subway ride in New York had seven different meet up locations to begin the pantless journey.
Lower East Side, meetup point
At the Lower East Side, the organizers from Improv Everywhere asked everyone to raise their hand if they had done this pantless subway ride before, and to our surprise an overwhelming majority of participants were first timers. The rowdy group divided up into groups based on the last number of their cell phone number, then divided down even further to smaller groups who get off and on at certain stops. All participants were given strict instructions to take off their pants at their designated subway stop, and continue to do what they would usually be doing on the subway.
Since the groups stay somewhat together there were some subway cars that had a minority of passengers with pants. There are certain subway routes the groups were instructed to follow, and all ended at Union Square. It was rare to end up the only pantless person on a different subway line. Though a strange concept on paper, No Pants Subway Ride demonstrates something about social norms. Going pantsless can seem normal when the majority of people on the subway don’t have their pants on. When the trip ended at Union Square Subway stop there was music blasting from all corners and crowds of pantless people partying in the main platform of the subway station. In a strange role reversal, the few people with pants on were the outsiders and weren’t a part of the party until their pants came off.
Signs were posted in the Barnes and Noble at Union Square informing pantless participants that their boxers and half dressed selves were not welcome in their establishment. Signs such as the one below were taped to every door on the store.