A wonderful video find from my Twitter feed (thanks @SharnAtlanta) led me to a group called ImprovEverywhere. Based in NYC, they "cause scenes of joy and chaos in public places" by enlisting thousands of "undercover agents." To date, they've completed over 80 "missions." These missions are the millenial version of Candid Camera, only using a crowd of volunteers instead of a few hand-picked actors by Allen Funt. Several missions have taken place in or near the NYC subway. I suspect that there's no better place to cause a scene, among a mass of humanity.
This first video, titled High Five Escalator, creates joy among subway riders (no small feat!):
This second video, titled No Pants 2009 (apparently so successful that it's an annual event) tips the scale in favor of chaos. I love the opening lines: "This is the 8th Annual No Pants Subway Ride. This is for participants only. If you didn't come to take off your pants, you are in the wrong spot."
These videos bring back fond memories of being on the NYC subway during a visit a few years ago. I rode the subway from the Bronx, where I was staying with a friend, all the way down the length of Manhattan and over to Brooklyn, to meet a friend for lunch, and then back up north again to Columbia University, where I was speaking at a conference. My friend in the Bronx thought it was completely normal. My friend in Brooklyn congratulated me for experiencing the real New York (and the kindness of a stranger who helped me figure out how to switch lines at Ground Zero.) And later, a friend in NJ thought I was crazy. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the diversity of human beings, from A to Z, coming and going, in the space no larger than a modest living room.