What began as a madcap idea by a handful of people on New York City’s mass transit system in 2002 has grown into an international celebration of silliness. And today hundreds of Britons, of all shapes and sizes, stripped down and kept a straight face as they rode on the underground in their underwear. This comes ahead of the London Underground grinding to a halt during crippling 24 hour strike action, starting this evening, which is set to leave thousands of people stranded during Monday morning rush hour.
Bemused passengers on the tube awkwardly averted their gaze as hundreds of commuters stripped down to their underwear for the bizarre annual tradition. There are some 9,000-10,000 people who take part each year in the global good-willed stunt.
Apparently #nopantsday is today and starts at 3pm. Couldn't have picked a better day!
— Susan Goldberg (@suzebizcoach) January 8, 2017
Londoners wearing coats, hats and scarves on their upper half and nothing but underwear, socks and shoes down below braved the winter weather to take part in the craze. Confused commuters also saw the pranksters take part in a mannequin challenge on the concourse at Kings’s Cross Station in central London.
An open invitation was issued to exhibitionists to join others meeting in central London before they took off their trousers and made their way to the Piccadilly Line and boarded tubes across the capital. Organiser Ivan Markovic said: ‘We have been running it for eight years here. ‘We travel the Tube on the first Sunday of the year and just make a scene. We make people smile. We make people laugh and we get some lovely reactions.’
‘It was a bit of a bummer that the tail end of the stunt clashed with the 24-hour Tube strike because unfortunately I think a lot of people will not be able to make the after-party – which sucks,’ Mr Markovic said. Last year more than 300 Londoners took part in the challenge which sees many participants wearing wacky and outlandish pants to try and make others laugh. On this year’s Facebook page organisers The Stiff Upper Lip society said: ‘The point is to relax and enjoy the humour inherent in people not wearing trousers.’
The event began in New York in 2001 and has now spread to dozens of cities across the world including Mexico City, Toronto and London. At 3am groups walk into the underground and remove their trousers before riding the tube with an extra breeze around their thighs. But organisers urged commuters not to wear anything ‘overly close fitting’ so nobody is upset. They added: ‘Our aim is to make people laugh, not p**s them off.’ Former Mayor Boris Johnson is not taking part this year as he is too busy dropping his trousers elsewhere.
— Red Life (@LifeAtRed) January 6, 2017
The Tube strike has started in last night with further chaos on the way this week with more rail and air stoppages. As thousands return to work on Monday 9th January having taken the first week of the New Year off, many Zone 1 tube stations shut from 6pm on Sunday for 24 hours. Passengers will face a week of misery with Southern Rail, London Underground and British Airways staff all walking out in ongoing wrangles over working conditions.
— The Skibbereen Eagle (@theskibeagle) January 9, 2017
Southern Rail drivers are on another walkout in their quarrel over who will open the doors on trains and their counterparts at Arriva Rail North are being balloted on Tuesday on whether to take industrial action which would hit commuters in Leeds, Hull and Manchester. In the capital, commuters will face disruption because of a strike by thousands of workers in a dispute over jobs and ticket office closures. Unions claim job cuts and ticket-office closures could harm safety.
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