Riding Breeches Optional

On Jan. 22, 2006, more than 100 people participated in New York's fifth annual No Pants Subway Ride.
On Jan. 22, 2006, more than 100 people participated in New York's fifth annual No Pants Subway Ride. (Seth Wenig - Reuters)
By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Friday, January 11, 2008

We can just hear those smug New Yorkers now: Oh, how cute, they're riding the subway without pants in Washington now! That's soooo 2002 . . .

Of course, that's assuming everything goes as planned for the No Pants Metro Ride, a stunt local pranksters are trying to organize Saturday afternoon. It coincides with NYC's No Pants Subway Ride, celebrating its seventh annual mass thigh-baring that same day, along with a half-dozen similar efforts across the country.

How it works: Participants meet at Dupont Circle and proceed to the subway . . . wearing no pants. Underwear, highly recommended. Just: No pants. (Carry them along, though. It's cold outside.)

What's the point? "There's no point, haha!" said one of the organizers, a recent college grad working in publishing, whose Facebook group devoted to the event has drawn 200 members. (She asked that her name not be used "because I don't want it to show up on my Google search history.") Is it performance art? "Well, it's a very democratic medium," she said. "Anyone can take their pants off." (She'll wear "the boy-shorts kind of underpants. Maybe two pairs.")

Charlie Todd, whose prankster group Improv Everywhere started the NYC event and expects to draw 500 there this year, said, "It encourages people to be more spontaneous, to look at the world around them and see that it's a fun, funny place."

But some fear the advance attention, especially from the popular blog DCist.com, may spoil the spontaneity. Especially 'cause, like, now the cops know about it.

"We don't have a dress code for riding Metrorail," system spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said dryly, though "people should not do anything that might draw the attention of a police officer, as it would relate to being disorderly or indecently exposed."

She added: "You'd think people could find something better to do with their time."

New Mom, New Workplace

After seven months off following the birth of her son Samuel, Mary Cheney is heading back to work Monday -- at a new office. The vice president's daughter has left her job at AOL and is starting a new gig as a VP of strategic communications for Navigators LLC, a Republican PR/political-consulting/lobbying shop based in D.C. (with California and Florida offices) whose folks worked for Arnold Schwarzenegger's last campaign and John McCain's 2000 race. No lobbying for Cheney, though -- she'll focus on corporate PR.

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

Christopher Hitchens looking grumpy on jury duty in D.C. Superior Court yesterday morning. But the bon-vivant writer (blue pinstripe suit, no tie, toting an Ezra Pound bio) had a good chuckle with the lawyers and judge about some mysterious something while huddling in voir dire. Alas, for unknown reasons they nixed the famed contrarian from the panel, which is hearing a drugs-and-guns case.


James Gandolfini has popped the question to former model Deborah Lin -- his second proposal since splitting from his wife five years ago, according to People magazine. The "Sopranos" star was engaged in 2004, but ended that relationship the following year; no word on a wedding date this time around.

Doubleday announced yesterday that Tina Brown, who wrote the best-selling "The Diana Chronicles" about Princess Di, will take on Bill and Hillary in "The Clinton Chronicles," scheduled for release in 2010.

Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear and Amy Ryan have begun filming the Iraq war thriller based on our colleague Rajiv Chandrasekaran's book, "Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone," Variety reports. The untitled movie, directed by Paul Greengrass ("The Bourne Ultimatum," "United 93"), started shooting yesterday in Spain.

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