After hanging out at the University Subway station for a while, I was beginning to think that no one was going to show up for the pants-free ride. As my friend and I were about to leave, we were approached by an ‘agent.’ This is what the people in the New York improvisational group, “Improv Everywhere” call themselves.
“Are you guys here for the…” he paused “…pants thing?” We nodded but informed him that our pants were staying on. He wasn’t happy about our pants, but when we offered up our purses for the storage of his pants, he was satisfied enough. “Ok, come with me,” he said.
We went up the stairs and saw a group of 15 people. For the people who listen to ‘This American Life’ or are familiar with the NYC group Improv Everywhere, you are already familiar with the “mission”. For the majority of the other people out there, here is the plan: the train makes a stop, and people come on with no pants. They sit down and act like nothing’s different. People on the train look at them, shrug, and go about their own business. At the next stop, more people without pants get on the train, and more at the next stop, and so on.
As the group was getting “briefed” on the mission, a guy burst through the door and whispered, “pants?” He pointed at his pants, hardly able to retain his excitement when everyone nodded yes.
To begin this journey we all rode fully to the last stop, dropping people off at each station with the promise that they would be without pants when we take the train back around. We rode the train to the last stop and 3 people took off their pants. We took the pants and stuffed them in our purse. A man laughed from the other side of the tracks, though at first, no one seemed to notice. At the next stop people watched the train stop in front of 2 more people without pants. Some people stood up and did a double take, and other people looked confused. By the second to last stop, people on one side of the train were having a conversation with some of the pantsless riders and laughing. A kid on our side was really excited, and when he got off the subway he said, “Look in there! They don’t have pants!” He waved us off at the Amherst Street stop. It had made his day.
The group is pretty secretive. Hopefully, we’ll see you next year! Look for your invite on Facebook.