Unseasonably warm temperatures in New York City made the excuse that subway riders “forgot their pants” a bit more plausible, but heads still turned as thousands of trouserless people rode the rails this weekend.
The annual stunt, organized by New York City-based prank group Improv Everywhere, drew more than 4,000 people who stripped down to their skivvies and hopped on the subway, garnering confused double-takes from passers-by. Improv Everywhere has organized the No Pants Subways Ride for 12 consecutive years now, yet average straphangers are still shocked by the sight of so much skin in such close quarters.
Manhattan participants — many of whom dressed up for the occasion, at least on top, in tuxedos, cowboy outfits and Santa costumes — were briefed by the group’s founder Charlie Todd before being sent below ground to, er, debrief. The volunteers were told to answer any questions by saying they “forgot to put on pants.”
It’s not just New York that sees bare-bottomed riders for a few hours each year. The stunt has since spread to 60 cities in 25 countries on five continents, where citizens are content to strip down in the interest of such a grand sociological experiment. From Bangkok to Berlin to Buenos Aires, riders took pleasure in swallowing their pride and shedding their pants.