People who hear about it for the first time ask: what is it all about? Why would one do that?
It's a celebration of silliness and spontaneity. The idea is simple: people getting on the subway trains without pants on. They do not acknowledge each others pants-lessness. It always happens sometime in January. Everybody, who's participating in this event is wearing winter coats and warm clothes while not wearing pants what makes a really funny contrast. In NYC people meet up at designed spots around the city and take the subway in particularly planned way so that they all end up at Union Square. The 21+ participants usually end up at the official afterparty.
You can read more about this event on Improv's Everywhere (the organisation that puts it all together from the very beginning) website.
Sunday, Jan 12 2014
We decided to start off from the designated spot on Upper West Side mostly because we didn't want to take the subway from Brooklyn, plus it was closer to where I live so I just took a walk across Central Park to the West Side. Rich in foot-longs from subway and large $1 iced coffees from dunkin donuts (special offer; through all January all sizes of iced coffee were there $1), we climbed the stairs to the meeting spot. When we got there it turned out to involve more people than we'd initially thought. Anyways the prep talk and getting sorted into groups took about half an hour, after what we walked towards the subway stations. M. and I volunteered to be the first couple of people to get on the train which meant we would get on the second train that would arrive, however people started being impatient after a long wait and started taking the subways in their own ways which could be a little confusing for everybody. It was still fun though. After getting on and off repeatedly through about 5 stations we'd decided that it was enough and took the train straight to Times Square from where we transferred to the yellow line that took us to Union Square :) The closer we'd get to everybody's final destination, the more people with no pants on we'd see. Unfortunately most of the time it wasn't a good sight; old people in thongs, guys in really tight briefs etc. In general it looked like the main rule of it all was: the uglier your butt is, the smaller underwear you should put on. Union Square itself was packed with pant-less people who were having the times of their lifes dancing to the "music" of the resident Hare Krishna people/believers (?). That was the end of the experience for us, even though we were planning on going to the official afterparty, we decided against it (more like M. did, but whatever). Instead we went to a brunch with our old friend T., who's a promoter so we didn't pay anything to get in etc and ended up riding an electric bull.
Overall, no pants subway ride was a really cool experience and I'm going to do it next year too, no matter where I'm gonna be at the time.