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Hundreds Strip Down in Times Square for National Underwear Day

By Alan Neuhauser | August 6, 2013 11:28am
 Hundreds turned out to Times Square in their skivvies to celebrate National Underwear Day Monday, Aug. 5, 2013. 
National Underwear Day
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TIMES SQUARE — New York's unmentionables had their day on the Great White Way Monday.

Hundreds of people stripped to their skivvies in Times Square for "National Underwear Day," a promotional celebration organized by Freshpair, a New York-based online underwear retailer that was attempting to break the Guinness World Record for largest gathering of people in their skivvies.

"We'd been in Times Square three times before, but those had been fashion shows with models," the company's coiffed and boxer-clad president Matthew Butlein told DNAinfo New York. "This year, we wanted it to be about everyone. We wanted to create a safe space for people of all backgrounds and body types to be out here in their underwear."

One promoter, shouting into a bullhorn, phrased it more bluntly: "Who wants to drop their pants and be part of a world record?"

For roughly 800 New Yorkers and tourists, the invitation proved irresistible. From pasty-white to deep amber, fit to full-size to flabby, they doffed their wares in the middle of Broadway to reveal Batman undies, flourescent boxer briefs, lacy thongs and everything in between.

"I feel like a kid again!" exclaimed Jay Strauss, 68, an actor attending the event in black-and-white-striped briefs with friend John WIlliams, 69, who wore rainbow suspenders to hold his boxers in place.

Dot and Len Portnoy, 83 and married for 54 years, each wore classic briefs — his white, hers pink.

"We enjoy it!" Len said. "We're fun guys."

Hundreds of spectators pushed against barricades ringing Broadway to watch the party unfold. Dozens held aloft iPads or cameras with huge lenses, and some even tried to get in claiming they were "freelance" photographers.

"It's like being in a fishbowl a little bit," said Harlem resident Nicole Holliday, 25, wearing a matching black ensemble.

Her friend, Sonia Morhange, 27, clad in green and black, agreed. "It's not that big a deal."

Both had taken part in Improv Everywhere's "No-Pants Subway Ride" in February, but said of Monday's event, "This is so much warmer."

The event ultimately failed to break the record of 2,270 people, but few there showed any sign of disappointment.

"Big Mike" Logan, a 57-year-old registered nurse from the West Village, danced and head-banged near the event stage at West 47th Street, his hair flying around and occasionally whacking revelers nearby.

"I came from work," he said, taking glasses from his boxers and putting them back on his face. "I was trying to talk myself out of it. But I just went, 'F--- it, I'll just do it.'"

Z100 DJ Elvis Duran, emceeing the event with DJ Phill Kross, captured the mood as the dancing continued.

"No one's getting arrested today — it's all legal!" he shouted. "It's National Underwear Day — make some noise!"