CHICAGO — Dozens of train commuters braved the cold weather Sunday afternoon to make a trek from the Far North Side to the South Loop.
All without pants.
Conceived by New York City-based pranksters Improv Everywhere, the "No Pants Subway Ride" in Chicago was one of 60 held throughout the world Sunday celebrating commuting half-clothed.
In what's become a yearly tradition, intrepid strippers gathered atop a parking lot at 1210 W. Arthur Ave. in Rogers Park and were given their marching orders. All were assigned a Red Line L stop. Before they reached their assigned stop, they were told to strip down, get off the train pantless and board the next southbound train.
They were instructed not to talk to one another during the ride to give the illusion that the event was not organized and everyone left their pants at home coincidentally. They would get off at the Roosevelt Red Line station before heading back north to Rogers Park.
Some had stories ready for other riders confused by the lack of legwear.
"I don't want to get my pants dirty on the train" was the explanation that Brad Wray, the 28-year-old event co-organizer and a cop from Oak Park, planned for inquistors.
Different people had different reasons for participating.
"I think of this as a fashion event," said Alexey Kudashev, a 30-year-old living in Buena Park, as he showed off a $20 pair of briefs. "My friends talked about this event, but I'm the only one here. I'm here to show I'm better than them and that I have great taste in underwear."
West Rogers Park resident Dashiell Bark-Huss stood pantless, shivering at the Bryn Mawr station.
“I just thought I’d take off my pants today,” she said, laughing. “This is much different than my usual Sunday routine.”
Several riders were met with comments like "huh," "Aren't you cold?" and "This is weird."
"This is crazy," said 22-year-old Brainerd resident Julian Allen, who was wearing pants. "But it's a free world. They should do what they want to do. I support it."
Others had a less-definite stance on the event.
"We prefer pants," said CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase. "But we don't have an official position on it."