No Pants subway riders converge on Union Square

Participants arrived at the Union Square station in only their knickers after participating in the ride on Sunday. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Participants arrived at the Union Square station in their knickers after participating in the ride on Sunday. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

New Yorkers braved below-freezing temperatures and the remains of the weekend’s snowstorm for the annual No Pants subway ride on Sunday, organized by comedy group Improv Everywhere. The pantsless riders converged on Union Square around 4 p.m. after riding through the subway system from various origin points.

The prank has been hosted by Improv Everywhere for the last 16 years, beginning with only seven participants in 2002. Since then, the event has grown to include more than 4,000 pantsless New Yorkers, with other cities organizing their own events throughout the world.

The idea behind the prank is that passengers board subway cars at different stops in the middle of winter without pants on. Participants behave like they don’t know each other and wear other winter-weather clothing like coats, hats, gloves and scarves, and the only unusual aspect of their appearance is their lack of pants.

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Bus lane violations will now be issued along M23 SBS route

 (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

The violations are an attempt to speed up service along the route. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Monday, the city began issuing violations to keep the bus lane clear along the M23 Select Bus Service route on 23d Street.

Doing so, the Department of Transportation said in a press release, is aimed at making the famously pokey route less so.

Each corridor has signage indicating the hours that the bus lanes are operable, and that the lanes are camera enforced. DOT will be letting drivers off with a warning for the first 60 days the cameras are first operated. After that, however, the penalty for driving in a camera-enforced bus lane will be $115. Additionally, since violations are issued against the vehicle, not the driver, points are not deducted from motorists’ licenses.

According to a spokesperson for the department, cameras, bus lanes and other SBS elements, like pre-paid boarding, have already improved bus speeds by up to 30 percent while also increasing ridership and even customer satisfaction.

So far, according to DOT data, 667,859 bus lane cameras violations have been issued and there are nine camera-enforced SBS routes.

Local ones are the M15, along First Avenue and Second Avenue and the M34 along 34th Street. Others in the city are M60, Bx12, Bx41, B44, B46, S79 and Q44.

Opinion: The good, the bad and the ugly

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

This past week after the celebrations and holiday observances, two moments in politics stand out. One for its civic dedication and the other for its audacity.

The Second Avenue Subway line for Manhattan’s Upper East Side opened after a century (yes, 100 years) of starts and stops. Governor Andrew Cuomo made sure the world knew that this was his success.

But truth be told, were it not for the tenacity of our own Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, this project would likely still be part of our imagination instead of the reality that it became this past Sunday.

Carolyn Maloney pushed for federal funding for this project throughout good times and bad, Republican Presidents and Democratic Presidents. She was America’s chief cheerleader for this mass transportation improvement that so many would have given up on. And there were many more in Congress who wanted to steal the money needed for the Second Avenue line and divert that funding to their pet projects.

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