No Pants! Subway Ride 2010

On January 10, our friends at Improv Everywhere held their annual No Pants! Subway Ride. In New York City, more than 3,000 people participated. Another couple thousand rode pantsless in more than 40 other cities around the world. Above is the video evidence. No Pants Subway Ride 2010


  1. The only thing that could make watching that any more enjoyable for me is for some wingnut to post in these comments about how people have no right to mess with other people like that. So come on wingnut, I’m counting on you.

  2. wrybread, I will not be that wingnut.

    I love “messing with people,” but I feel like large scale public actions like this can be applied to more important causes – like human rights.

    Where was I just reading about that? Oh yeah… right here.

    I can’t help but feel what Improv Everywhere does undermines other public actions attached to social causes. Are the participants of events like these also the street protest types? How do they feel about doing both? And what about the “street protest types?” How does Ben Shepard feel about IE?

    Does anyone even remotely agree with this? Or will it be like last time.

  3. man i HATE IT I HATE IT I HATE IT when people mess with other people like that. they have NO RIGHT.

  4. People walking around the NYC subway system in their underwear just doesn’t make for shock value in the NYC subway system, unless you’re a tourist from the sticks. I’d like to see some full-on nudity.

  5. “Spirituality is about waking up.” – Fr. Anthony DeMello

    One purpose of Art is to wake people up.

  6. This is over. Please stop, we don’t care. Maybe cause I live here, but this is just OLD and tired. Maybe try this on, bunch of people get on NYCMTA and don’t act like dicks (which we don’t), now that’s news.

    Yes, naked weenises would be interesting-ish. kmoser is right. If you live here this is not interesting, it is not even annoying.

  7. If it is an annual event, why do people, especially MTA workers, looks so surprised?

    (aside: My captcha words: Mr. Godwin – oh noes, Godwined before posting…)

  8. I love that the participants are wearing thick gloves – it’s obv very cold. Doing it here in Melbourne, it’s summertime and I believe it was about 35C that day – shouldn’t be wearing much more than jocks anyway.

  9. For the same reason I am against public nudity, i.e. there are a lot of bodies I really don’t want to see naked, I am now officially against Public Underwear Day.

  10. What strikes me most is how these Americans choose to organize their time in such horrible economic circumstances of their own making. The US is occupying two countries at a cost of trillions of dollars which could be put to better use buying better health care for its citizens (I think I recall reading Doug Henwood writing that the US could have bought all American HMOs for a third of the original TARP funds which would have killed the organized opposition to universal single-payer health care), feeding the poor, building and maintaining schools, ending rampant evictions, and generally fighting corporate rule. Americans don’t seem to have time to organize by the thousands for those things even though polls tell us they don’t like any of them. But over three thousand of them in New York City apparently have time and the will to take their pants off and take a train ride.

    1. Partly presumptious on my part, but I’m guessing the majority of the pantless riders were not high-ranking economic or military policy members for Bush (or Clinton), and it’s unlikely many were involved in developing or promoting subprime mortgage backed securities. And yes, I’m not a member of an organized political party myself, I’m a Democrat. Making people smile in an often grim city (and by youtube, in an often grim world) is a good thing. And there’s of course the question, why are you posting/(trolling?) on BB, and not outside protesting?

  11. Guys, it started with 7 people and grew to thousands over the decade. It’s a lot of fun every year. And it’s not supposed to scandalize or outrageously shock anyone, just kind of make you go “wait, what’s going on?” if you don’t already know.

    3,000 is approximately 1/100,000th of the US population. There are plenty more than that who fight for important causes. I don’t think it says anything whatsoever about Americans that a couple thousand of us got together to have fun one Sunday afternoon.

  12. #17: Don’t misstate my post as if one must choose one or the other (protest or pants-less train ride). I never said one must order one’s activities: protest before pants-less train ride. And you exaggerate my list of problems into “all the world’s problems” for further misstatement.

    That said, the pants-less train riders would seem to agree with you on the exclusivity–apparently they’re choosing the train ride and not the protesting. That stands out to me. Such organizational power, such free time, being used in another way could speak to people across the country about something important. Particularly when over 3,000 of them are meeting in a city the national media pays attention to.

    #18: I think it says something about these Americans, which is what I posted. Their percentage in the population is big enough to make a statement that could be carried to many others should they choose to do so (see above). But since you want to talk about Americans in general: as far as mainstream American media goes most Americans aren’t expressing objections in any organized way regarding their eminently repairable collective ills.

    1. #22 You’re cherry picking one example to make a generalization about an entire nation. A few examples of American’s organizing: The tea party people. Obama’s campaign. there’s also the battle in seattle, the 1960s student anti-war movement, the civil rights movement, the union movement, gay rights and stonewall, feminism, California’s Prop 8 protests, etc, etc.

      I’m not an American and I know all this. Where do you come from?

    2. That said, the pants-less train riders would seem to agree with you on the exclusivity–apparently they’re choosing the train ride and not the protesting

      Perhaps there were no protests this particular 3000+ people felt compelled to attend on this particular day? Maybe every single one of them is attending a protest for something very important next week, but that’s unlikely as it’s unlikely that all 3000+ of them share the exact same views. In fact I’d say the only generalisation you can make about this particular 3000+ people is that they all believe it would be fun to ride the subway without pants on for a little while and it would be even more fun to do it in a group.

  13. Once you hit about 80% pantsless in a car (like at 1:25) it’s no longer a funny ‘prank’:

    It’s a bunch of strangers sitting alone in a subway car without pants on.

  14. This is an annual event started back in 2002 as a fun thing to do to make other people’s lives more interesting. Not everything needs to have meaning, nor does everything need to be scrutinized. It’s just fun. It doesn’t hurt anyone. Perhaps if you take a look at some of Improv Everywhere’s ( experiments you’ll get a sense of what they do.

    Really, just lighten up and enjoy things. There is a time for being outraged and now is not it.

  15. Here’s my opinion: I think it’s kind of dumb and uncreative. The only reason it’s of any interest is that, hey, people are pulling their pants down en masse on the train. Yay.

    I understand the whole “messing with reality” aspect, but beyond that, does this make anyone think or change their perceptions of anything? If it’s just a bit of fun for the people pulling their pants down, then fine, but the “normal” people in the train are allowed to scoff.

    Now the Sound of Music in the Belgian terminal, that’s good stuff. How about these pantsless people coordinate something a little more interesting?

  16. I hate to say this but a protest involving a mere 3000 people would generate about as much attention as this subway ride–none. I love this event but ONLY hear about it via e-mail from Improve Everywhere. It is basically invisible to mainstream media, although it may receive some coverage in NYC. Unfortunately, it takes a whole lot more people and much more organization than a flash mob to garner attention for any cause here.

  17. I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank JB NicholsonOwens for being the wingnut I was hoping for in posting #3.

    And thank you BoingBoing for never disappointing!

  18. This is just a networking event for the conspirators and practice organizing for the real demonstration to be held at some yet to be decided future date. The part about not wearing pants is just to divert people from its true purpose.

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