Sunday, January 13, 2008

No Pants 2K8

On Saturday I participated in the 7th annual “No Pants Subway Ride” or No Pants 2K8 as it is better known. My friend Alex and I did this last year and had a ton of fun, so we knew we had to do it again. This is an event run by a group called improv everywhere that pulls large-scale public pranks. This particular prank involves hundreds of people meeting in downtown Manhattan, (and this year in several other cities as well) getting on one subway, and taking their pants off while riding the train. This is confusing and sometimes hilarious to the people who aren’t in on the joke, as they find themselves in a train riddled with pants-less folks on their trip uptown.Alex and me with a pants-less comrade last year

Determined to start the day out right, I bought a bottle of vodka and dumped it into a ginger ale bottle before heading to the Lower East Side to meet Alex and our friend Jake for some shots at Iggy’s. Once I arrived, the shots were waiting on the bar, and we downed them promptly while chatting with another bar patron who happened to be an MTA employee. “There’s some crazy shit happening on the subway,” he informed us. “There was one dude who lived in a room underneath the Times Square subway stop. He was a disbarred lawyer and he had a motherfuckin toaster in there!”

After chatting it up with the MTA guy and giving my underwear a once over in the bathroom, we headed to the meeting point for No Pants 2K8. “Bring on the ocho!” Howled Alex. And bring it on we did- there is no way to start off a great year like a great pants-less subway ride.
Lots of people waiting to take their pants off

We were paired into groups and headed off to the train, but not before I swigged most of my ginger ale concoction. I found this picture on someone’s flickr set which I imagine was taken right after my final swing:
Alex, Jake and I are ready and raring to go

The train ride was pretty hilarious. I felt a surge of adrenaline, as it was my turn to take off my pants. I was nervous, but not nearly as much as last year, when my subway pants cherry was popped. This time, I did it like a pro with a straight face.
This guy was sort of confused

I can’t believe the amount of people who asked me what I was doing. I got questions like:
“Why is everyone doing this!?”
“Is this some sort of art project?”
“Do you know why that guy next to you has his pants off too?”
“Do you need a pair of pants?”

I just tried to pleasantly explain that my legs were getting itchy because of the recent dry weather and I simply could not have my pants on anymore. This was pretty ok, and I mostly tried to avoid people’s stares by reading my book. I did feel particularly uncomfortable when I realized I was standing right in front of a scared little boy sitting on his mother’s lap. But you know, it’s New York City… get used to it kid!

After the ride, all 900 of us pants-less fools gathered in Union Square in an act of unity. The pants-less filter into Union Square

It was great fun, and I can definitely say that I want to make this event a yearly tradition for myself. I know that many people can’t understand why I would do something like this.
Most people I talked to about doing it thought it was just disgusting, weird and too sexual. I can tell you from experience that the No Pants subway ride is none of these things… it’s just plain fun.

Me taking the elevator in the Union Square Station

Jake, me and Alex after the big ride