Gallery: Subway Riders Strip Down to Their Skivvies on No Pants Day

By Bethania Palma Markus / Special to LAist

If you happened to ride the Metro rail system in Los Angeles on Sunday, you might have noticed many of your fellow passengers were missing something important—the bottom portion of their wardrobe.

Roughly 300 underwear-clad Angelenos crowded trains Sunday for the fourth annual “No Pants Metro Ride 2012.” The idea was concocted by New York City prankster collective Improv Everywhere 11 years ago and caught on globally.

Thousands from cities around the world including Istanbul, Mexico City and London, took part in the daring but lighthearted underwear flash mob that briefly took over public transportation. An estimated 4,000 New Yorkers stripped down to their skivvies, despite “mild” East Coast winter temperatures of 44°F.

In L.A., swarms of bare-legged riders boarded Metro lines from North Hollywood, Pasadena, East Los Angeles and Koreatown and converged at Union Station just before 2 p.m., then departed for Hollywood and Highland. The riders were loosely instructed to act like they had mistakenly overlooked putting half their clothes on.

“It was an accident,” a deadpan, boy shorts-wearing Tiffanee Lee said. “I was in a hurry and I just forgot my pants.”

The 22-year-old Los Angeles resident also managed to forget pants for her 21-month-old, Travis, the youngest, and by far cutest, pantless rider.

“Always once a year it happens to me, around this same time too,” Lee said.

David McCoy, 29, of Hollywood, was a bit more candid: “I like doing things that push the boundaries."

Some didn’t even try to keep the theatrics low key. One man, known as “the Monopoly Guy,” wore a monocle, black top hat and tails, replete with red boxers.

The exuberant but peaceful riders were left alone by Metro officials and police, who basically acted like it was just another day at work. While it seemed nye impossible for anyone to miss the giant mob of half-naked people, ride captain Laureli Srery, a.k.a. Peppermint Patty, helped keep everyone together and headed in the right direction. Once en route to Hollywood, the riders broke out into Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” though they didn’t get past the part about the “midnight train going anywhere.”

At Hollywood and Highland, they took tourists and L.A. natives alike by surprise. Even some of the costumed characters that frequent Hollywood Boulevard did double takes.

“Something new every day,” said Dwayne Robinson, 34, a lifelong L.A. resident. “I’ve seen crazy stuff but nothing like this.”

Tourists got a trial by fire of Los Angeles eccentricity when the group descended on the plaza in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre at about 3:15 p.m. If there was ever a look that plainly said “oh my God,” it was on the face of Karen Shipp, who was visiting L.A. from Winchester, Virginia.

“Just when I thought L.A. and Hollywood were halfway normal,” she said after gamely posing for pictures with boxer brief-wearing young men. “Obviously these folks are just having a good time. I’m just trying to think outside the box.”

Desi Garnett, 50, Aaron Munoz, 13 and Evan Castro, 8, were down from Palmdale celebrating Evan’s birthday. They were floored, but clearly pleased.

Especially Evan.

“Best birthday ever,” he said.