Skimpy Subway: Hundreds turn out for ‘No Pants’ ride through Manhattan

Caught with your pants down? This was the 19th annual Pants Off Subway Ride beginning at Foley Square and ending after a number of train stops at Union Square. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

In the theater of the absurd, one shouldn’t be caught with one’s pants down — unless, of course, you are one of the many people who took part in the 19th annual No Pants Subway Ride Sunday.

A more frigid event in past winters, this year’s skimpy subway ride began with balmy spring-like weather at Foley Square in Manhattan.

More than 200 participants gathered to take a slew of trains to various parts of the city before ending up in Union Square. With temperatures in the 60s, most participants had no problem handling the weather.

Last year, participants started out from four boroughs, but it became somewhat unwieldy, according to organizers, thus leading to changes for the 2020 ride.

Julianne Boucher and her husband Christopher get all dolled up for the event.

“Who doesn’t want to throw on their undies and ride the subway in the middle of the winter?” Boucher asked. Christopher, who dressed in a grey suit and hat, added, “I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a sense of community – it’s fun to engage with other people.”

“He’s humoring me,” Julianne replied, adding, “I love my crazy events.”

Genevive Mane took her son Ram with her on the train and both of them took off their pants.

“I love taking my kid and seeing people in their underwear, it’s hilarious,” Mane said as they sat with her son drawing pictures.

(Photo by Todd Maisel)

Curious straphangers looked on and some of them took pictures of the unusual sight.

Zach Linder, one of the No Pants Subway Ride “generals,” said it was important to act normal other than to take your pants off. The joke is funnier if “there are no other distractions other than the missing pants,” he said.

The event was founded by the Upright Citizens Theater Brigade, an improv class, and what founders intended to make it funny was the “improv.” Participants are asked to act completely normal – use their phones, read a book or draw pictures.

“Some people might ask why you are wearing no pants, and you might reply, ‘I forgot to wear them or it’s just too warm today,’” Linder said.

(Photo by Todd Maisel)

The event was being held simultaneously in 10 other countries, including as far away as Australia.

“I’m doing it because she’s doing it,” said Helen Canese, referring to her friend Jane Hudson of Park Slope, Brooklyn. “She does it religiously.”

Hudson added, “I take the subway every day to work. Today, I’m going to do something fun on the subway.”

(Photo by Todd Maisel)

Two men showed up dressed as the Yankee ball players – they were the first to take their pants off on the #6 train.

“Why am I doing this? It just reminds ourselves not to take life too seriously — it’s something kind of fun, different,” one of the “players” said. “Being out here on a – normally cold, but today, its pretty warm –  it makes you feel alive.”

(Photo by Todd Maisel)
(Photo by Todd Maisel)
(Photo by Todd Maisel)
(Photo by Todd Maisel)

Todd Maisel