Pants-less pranksters brave extreme cold this year

Participants on the N train

By Sabina Mollot

On Sunday, despite frigid temperature, straphangers with an exhibitionist streak ditched their pants and all other leg coverings to take part in the annual No Pants Subway Ride.

Always held on a winter day, the flashmob prank, held for the 16th time, is organized by the group Improv Everywhere. The route technically began at Foley Square and ended at Union Square, but participants of all ages could be seen at other subway stops as well. With the wind chill, the temperature was in the single digits.

Originally begun with just seven cold-tolerant men, the underground leg show now draws thousands and also takes place in other cities and countries. Participants, who dress appropriately for the winter other than their bare legs, always act as if they simply forgot their pants and don’t have any clue why so many others have forgotten them, too.

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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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