I’ve had many awkward moments on the New York City subway. There are the usual heated political discussions at 3 am. My growling stomach providing ear candy for those who are not glued to ear phones. While drunken people swinging from pole to pole entertain the masses. Then of course, there are the panhandlers who claim “if you give a dollar today, you won’t go to hell tomorrow.”
The subway is home to a cast of characters, which inspires and keeps creative minds jaded. Not blinking an eye to the unusual is a trademark of the New York experience. One faithful evening, something changed. I was standing at the platform at 59th and Lex waiting for an Uptown train to Queens. From the corner of my eye, I saw a man standing in his underwear.
“Only in New York” I thought to myself. Then another man appeared. ” Well hello gorgeous in the dazzling plaid boxers.” People in the dead of winter wearing nothing but a coat and no pants surrounded me. I didn’t think much of it. They all took a downtown train and I didn’t see any more people posing in their undies in busy 59th and Lex.
A year later, I was sitting in outside a coffee house in the East Village with my buddy Kyle. He looked excited. “I’m taking my pants off.” I nearly dropped my very full cappuccino all over a newly dry cleaned winter coat. ” It’s no the pants on the subway ride, where everyone shows up dressed in their undies.” He looked thrilled to partake in knickers (had to use the British version of undies here) madness.
“Oh, that’s why everyone was pant less last year, it’s a flash mob thing” I proclaimed. As expected, I supported his decision to not wear pants in New York’s bitter cold. Personally, I love the idea of rolling around in my underwear on a nice blanket of snow. Unfortunately, I did not want to join the no pants subway ride.
Fast-forward, it was another Sunday night supper downtown. I walked on 14th street toward Union Square, when another interesting occurrence blinded my eyes. Wow, I was the only one on 14th street wearing trousers. It was a whole mob of bare legs with long stocks. Underwear representing boxers, briefs, and panties filled the usually trouser friendly sidewalks.
Union Square morphed into a sea of knickers. I felt slightly self-conscious wearing trousers for once. I wouldn’t have any fun undies to wear anyways.
The “no pants on the subway” keeps the city humorous and outrageous. When one feels like they’ve seen it all in the city, there is always that reminder, more interesting sights are coming soon.