You recently wondered about people without pants in your hometown subway? Probably (and hopefully) they took part in the urban phenomenon of the annual Global No Pants Subway Ride. Otherwise you just met someone who forgot to take on his pants – like a New York worker in 1986. According to a legend it all started with this poor overworked guy. Another version includes students from Austin who took off their pants for fun in a semester celebration. Nowadays, fun is definitely the main goal of the No Pants Subway Ride, which emerged first in 2002. Organised by the New York performance group Improv Everywhere, the now global event encourages people to feel the joy of liberated legs and to take life in general less serious.
From Prank to Urban Event
The first organised No Pants Subway Ride took place in New York with only seven brave members. In 2018, only in Big Apple over 4000 took part in the event. Moreover, people are joining in from more than sixty cities worldwide. Especially Sydney, London, Berlin, Paris, Shanghai and Mexico City made a name for themselves as venues. Participants are usually of all ages, races and backgrounds. Men and women participate equally.
Public Transport as Stage
The subway is a particularly suitable place for the event. It’s a confined public space where many people with different backgrounds meet without knowing each other. The feeling of being part of a performance is especially strong in this kind of areas. With only a few participants, a little shame is added, which gives the event an additional excitement. The No Pants Subway Ride takes place in January to reinforce the contrast between thick clothing and nakedness. Besides having no pants on, participants are often celebrating themselves and wear fancy underwear.