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No Pants Subway Ride returns to NYC

A participant acts normal despite his attire during

A participant acts normal despite his attire during a No Pants Subway Ride in Manhattan. (January 2007) (Credit: improveverywhere.com)

If this doesn't faze New York subway riders, nothing will.

Thousands are expected to gather below the streets of Manhattan on Sunday to prove in a rather unconventional way the fashion statement "less is more."

Clad in winter coats, scarves, gloves and their finest undergarments, pranksters will board subways with straight faces and without their pants as part of a large-scale practical joke that has been carried on for 12 years and is now celebrated in 27 countries around the world.

Started by seven men looking to get a laugh out of strangers in 2002, the event is run by Manhattan-based prank collective Improv Everywhere, a group dedicated to "causing scenes of chaos and joy in public places." Nearly 4,000 people participated in Manhattan last year.

No Pants Subway Ride 2013 will take place Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m. and everyone is invited, though it does take some acting skills (among other things) to participate.

There are six meeting points throughout Manhattan,  Brooklyn and Queens. Participants at each point will be organized into groups and assigned a train car, according to improveverywhere.com

Once on board, participants are asked to pretend they do not know one another. At a designated stop, they will casually remove their pants and place them in their bags without laughing or letting on that they are involved in a prank.

"If anyone asks you why you've removed your pants, tell them that they were getting uncomfortable, or something along those lines," the site says.

Participants then will exit and stand pantless on the platform until the next subway arrives. They are then supposed to enter for another ride, acting as if they are going about business as usual.

Improv Everywhere says fun underwear is allowed, but nothing too silly that "screams out, 'I wore this because I'm doing a silly stunt.' "

"Don't wear a thong or anything else that may offend people," they add. "Our aim is to make people laugh, not piss them off."

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