Whoa-- busy Sunday night! Yesterday we told you about Charlie Todd's No Pants 2006 Subway Ride-- one of his more famous ImprovEverywhere projects. The plan for today was to ride from Brooklyn Bridge to 125th Street on the 6, and then turn around and come back down. Sadly, the fuzz busted the event up and nabbed six of Charlie's agents at 59th Street! Presta Cottage Industries has the details:
Things seemed to be going according to plan when we got to 59th: the pants sellers for my car were working their way up, offering pants for $1 and I got my cords and put them back on. Once I had my pants back, a stranger apparently felt it was okay at that point to ask how I liked the book I was reading, '20 Years at Hull House' by Jane Addams. I wonder if she would have asked if she had never seen my bare legs. But the doors didn't close. And they still didn't close. Then the conductor came on, "this train is being taken out of service due to an investigation - everyone please step to the platform." A few hundred subway riders crowded onto to the small uptown platform as several burly NYPD officers ran about with walkie talkies, coralling several Agents who still were in their boxers.
With the stage set - a couple of boys in colorful boxers leaning nonchalantly against the wall reading their books, and several of New York's finest shouting back the crowds, the photographers - who had been with us since Foley, came out of the woodwork. I was just next to the escalator where our compatriots were being detained and was pressed back behind the 10-wide bank of photographers and reporters, flashing and scribbling away. I spoke to a Times reporter and photographer, and saw the Post, Sun, and Reuters as well. Al Gore's Current TV was shooting throughout the day and Charlie later said that an HDTV station was there along with a Japanese video crew.
After an extended stretch of nothing happening, the police apparently felt the situation had been secured, and having sent the empty train on its way, they escorted 5 men and a woman out of the station - apparently to be cuffed and loaded into paddy wagons and taken to the precinct.
We all headed back downtown to the Brooklyn Bridge stop, my car cheering all the way down from "99 pairs of pants on the train," passing lollipops around to IE participants and strangers alike. We talked, pulled pants down, pulled pants back up, and eventually all congregated for another hour outside the Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall subway station, exchanging pants and stories, sharing photos, and awaiting the somewhat-triumphant return of Charlie, who told us that 6 had been taken to the precinct, and two had only received summons - with their names mispelled.
I thanked Charlie, said goodbye to several new friends, and headed back downtown - but you can bet I'll be pickin up the Times on my way out the building first thing tomorrow - something tells me that a couple of familiar faces and some vibrant underwear will be featured prominently. What a night.
What a night indeed! Does anyone have any pictures? Charlie-- what's the word-- is this the end of the No Pants tradition?
UPDATE: Charlie posted something on his IE page: "Today's No Pants was halted by the cops about halfway through. One frustrated cop freaked out and called in 25 more. 8 were ticketed and summonsed to court, 6 of the 8 were handcuffed and traveled in a paddy wagon to a precinct. Everyone has been released and is fine. More info as it develops. Read the comments on the mission page."
UPDATE: some good reactions in the comments at ImprovEverywhere-- for instance:
Posted by: Stuart Hillman Well, I'd be one of those people who got "detained." It is definitely more shocking to claim to be arrested, but in the end they let us go. My impression was that they were trying to decide if it was more embarrasing to book us or release us. In general most of the police were quite nice, even if a few were a bit frazzeled.
I get to go explain to a judge how I managed to comit dissorderly conduct by sitting quietly and playing mahjong on my PDA. "The pants seller only had size 8 womens."
My main impressions were that the press were excessive. I felt like there were more of them than of us. We weren't doing it for them.
When we were lined up against the first wall, Some jerk started yelling. What was with that? That annoyed me more than the behavior of the cops.
They let us out, and sent us home on the subway, with Dave still pantsless. I did get my pants back, because Rob got nicked wearing them.
In the end it was pretty mellow.
Update: having a little problem with comments on Gothamist-- we'll get them turned back on as soon as we can!