Back in 2002, a New York City-based improvisational troupe, Improv Everywhere, created the No Pants Subway Ride (NPSR). The mission started as a small prank with seven friends who rode the NYC subway one day, without any pants. Yep, they rode the subway with their lower halves just in their underwear.
Here’s a video of the NYC NPSR from 2018:
The NPSR has since grown into an international annual celebration of silliness, with thousands of people in over 60 cities around the world participating over the years.
Part performance art, part flash mob, the NPSR has gotten responses that’ve run the gamut from double-takes, to outright staring, to pretended not to stare, to patrons leaving the train, to riders being taken into custody (I’m looking at you, NYC 2006, Istanbul 2012 and Moscow 2016). Oh, and one woman in Washington D.C. cursed participants in 2014 for, “riding around in public, with their butt cheeks hanging out on the Lord’s Day, during flu season.”
Not surprisingly, covid put the kibosh on the NPSR on 2021 and 2022. However IT IS ON for 2023, and is happening this Sunday, January 8th.
New York City is sitting the NPSR out this year <sad trombone>. From Improv Everywhere’s website:
The No Pants Subway Ride is not happening in New York in 2023. After 19 years of producing the event, we’ve decided to take a break (sadly the pandemic ruined our plans of making it 20 years in a row!) Other cities around the world may be continuing their own No Pants Subway Ride traditions, but we do not have any information on those events.
However some other cities have committed to continue the tradition to drop trou on their local subways and trains in 2023:
- London, UK (they call it the No Trousers Tube Ride. Wearing “no pants” there would be a much more adult event [“pants” = underwear in the UK]).
Those are the only cities I see participating this year, although perhaps some more will join in, last minute. Still, I think it’s an OK start, just coming out of the pandemic.
Anyway, if you happen to be in any of those cities and catch a view of any participants this year, making jokes about any breezes is absolutely fine. After all, they’re all flying by the seat of their pants (sorry not sorry).
Feature Photo: Improv Everywhere
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