ROGERS PARK — Max Goetz was in his element when the pants came off at the sixth annual No Pants Subway Ride Sunday afternoon.
The 2-year-old Rogers Park resident was with his mother and grandmother, who had waited more than six months for the event since hearing about last year's ride. All three dropped trou at the Loyola Red Line station, along with about 150 other no-pants subway riders
Jody Schoeben and her daughter, Tyler Goetz, brought several friends to join them, along with Max, Goetz's outgoing son, who came revealing a fresh diaper for the ride.
"Next year he'll be a big boy with his Spiderman underwear. This year he's just going with pampers," Schoeben said as the pantless group prepared to make their way south to the Roosevelt Red Line station.
True to form, Max high-fived and baby-talked his way through the crowd before boarding the train.
According to Justin Hardesty, the event's organizer, this year's ride was the warmest yet.
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.
Riders began at Loyola, exiting at various stops along the Red Line all the way to Roosevelt. Upon boarding the next train in small groups, Chicago residents were treated to a surprise as pantless men and women appear to have randomly boarded in their underwear.
Margie Plurad was one of those curious about the celebration at the Roosevelt Red Line station.
"My first thought was, 'why are people not wearing pants?" she said, echoing a common sentiment Sunday. "It's a pretty clear statement. It really does get your attention."
According to Jeremiah Spano and his friend Damion Johnson, who first heard of the ride 30 minutes before he joined it, the event is all about having fun and making someone's day.
"Look at these people, they don't look so happy?" Spano asked, gesturing at the fully-clothed "L" riders as one woman noticed his attire and began to smile.
"See?" he said. "Her day just changed for the better."
After all the excitement, including a pantless hokey-pokey at the Roosevelt station and a chorus rendition of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" on the train, Max fell asleep in his diaper, surrounded by his family and several pantless participants.
"He's such a character — with all that energy he should do something with it," his grandmother said of the toddler. "He's an outgoing, beautiful blessing."