Today’s news:

Astorians in citywide gag ride subway sans trousers

A group of Astoria residents took a brief trip to Manhattan during last weekend’s snowfall that left their fellow subway passengers with mouths agape.

The group, made up of 12 to 15 residents from Astoria, Long Island City and Forest Hills, traveled to City Hall, where they dispersed onto the 1, 6, N and R subway lines. During the course of their trips, they dropped their pants.

The ride was part of a citywide event created by Improv Everywhere, an improvisational comedy group. An estimated 1,200 to 1,500 people took part in the event throughout the five boroughs. The pantless ride also took place in 23 other cities nationwide and nine countries.

“There were a lot of wide eyes and open mouths,” said Ran Craycraft, operator of the Why Leave Astoria Web site and organizer of the Astoria chapter of the subway ride. “It was liberating because it was such a spectacle.”

Why Leave Astoria is an online platform for people to find out more about the neighborhood, including food and wine tastings, gallery openings and residents looking for roommates.

The Astoria group met at the neighborhood’s Las Margaritas restaurant on Broadway Saturday afternoon before heading into Manhattan. Craycraft said his group primarily included people in their 20s and early 30s, but also a family and several senior citizens.

During the ride, participants would stand up one at a time over a period of several subway stops. The rider would announce that the subway car was hot and the group’s members would then remove their pants, Craycraft said.

“It was really interesting to watch the people on the train who were not taking part,” he said. “They would look around to see who would be next.”

The No Pants Subway Ride began around 2 p.m. and made its way to several Manhattan bars. Craycraft said he did not return home until after midnight.

Participants wore a variety of garments, including boxer shorts, fishnet, thongs and bikini briefs, Craycraft said. He said his group successfully convinced patrons at several Manhattan bars to drop their drawers and take part in the event.

Police at the Union Square subway station in Manhattan asked the group to move along, but none of them were arrested, Craycraft said.

“We heard a few people say, ‘Hey, buddy, you forgot your pants’ or ‘Put on your pants,’ ” he said.

Erika Monje, an Astoria resident who took part in the ride, said none of the other passengers on the train harassed the group.

“People would snicker, but no one said anything mean to us,” she said. “It was really fun.”

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.

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