No Pants! Subway Ride
Improv Everywhere is disrobing from the waist down for the eighth year in a row. Here, an abridged timeline of MTA pantslessness.
Mon Jan 5 2009
Photograph: Chad Nicholson
Back in the day, it was just Improv Everywhere founder Charlie Todd and six of his friends on the 6 train. “There were no board meetings then,” recalls Todd. “It was mostly set up in front of my computer—often in my underwear.”
The 30 to 50 pantless participants in the early ’00s were mostly Todd’s friends from Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. “Lots of people take improv classes to boost their self-confidence,” says Todd. “It’s not really improv, but you still have to adapt. Plus, if you can take your pants off in a New York City subway, what can’t you do?”
This year marked the first time Todd opened the event to the public: He posted online, drawing 150 people and resulting in eight participants getting handcuffed. The charges were dismissed, but Todd found himself on TV with Keith Olbermann, talking about the equality of underwear. “The cops now have a 'can’t beat ’em, join ’em’ attitude,” says Todd. “It’s not our intention, but every now and then, people get offended. C’mon, have you ever been to the beach?”
In March, darejunkies.com offered $10,000 to the best public striptease. Four ladies—Jessica Wu, Marissa Lupp, Isis Masoud and Laura Lee Anderson—won the prize money by boarding the N, R and L trains and doing leg splits and pole dancing. The four-minute “Sexy Pole Dance Girls in NYC Subway” clip went on to YouTube fame.
Last April, Subway Crush (subwaycrush.com) launched a dating site, allowing commuters to take their game of eye tag to the next (hopefully naked) level.
No Pants!’s 900 revelers had to be spread over three lines (the 1, 6 and N), providing plenty of opportunities for participants to make new friends or find a cute passenger to “get off” with. Adds Todd, “Last year, there were Facebook groups for different subway cars, and my website turned into a Craigslist’s of Missed Connections.” Not to mention some of the new pals took to East Village bars after the ride was over—sans pants, of course.
READY TO RIDE? The Eighth Annual No Pants! Subway Ride: Meet at Foley Square at the intersection of Duane, Lafayette, Centre and Pearl Sts. Sat 10 at 3pm, free. Visit improveverywhere.com for details.
Brief case >>
What to wear if you decide to ride