Yesterday, about 3,500 people in New York City rode the subway in their underwear. Why? Because they forgot to wear pants. Or, because their pants were uncomfortable.
No, really, those are just the excuses that they were supposed to give—with a straight face—if anyone asked why they weren’t wearing pants. The pantless people were part of a prank organized by Improv Everywhere, a New York City-based group that “causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places.”
This was their 10th annual event, which has happened in cities around the world. The group recruited people to meet at six meeting points around the city, where they then dispersed onto different train cars. Once there, they took off their pants and pretended that nothing was out of the ordinary—carrying their briefcases, listening to their iPods, and even sleeping—everything they would normally do on the subway. With one exception.
I rode the New York City subways for years in my 20s, and happened to witness pantless riders on more than one occasion, but for more sketchy reasons than we’re talking about here. So, let me just say: This made me laugh. I’m all for “scenes of spontaneous joy in public places.” I mean, really, we could all use a little more spontaneous fun in our lives. The chaos part is a worry, though. This event apparently had police working with the organizers to make sure that laws weren’t broken. (Who knew that it’s not illegal to ride the subway in your underwear?)
But, I wasn’t riding the subway with my kids yesterday. Were you? As a parent, what’s your take on the prank? Harmless fun, or something you wouldn’t want your children exposed to, no pun intended?