The pranksters of Improv Everywhere have been spreading their quirky magic in New York City once again, and for founder Charlie Todd it was almost like working from home.

Improv Everywhere Broadway
Charlie Todd lead the team (and his family in center of photo) in an Improv Everywhere MP3 experiment on Broadway. Photo: Improv Everywhere

Charlie, a longtime Hell’s Kitchen resident, Community Board 4 member and the man behind the popular comedy collective, barely had to leave the neighborhood when around 2,000 strangers wearing headphones came together in the Garment District.

Their mission? To blend in on sidewalks around Broadway just south of Times Square before app-powered audio started playing at exactly 3pm. Then the fun began, with the throng following secret, synchronized instructions whispered into their ears by spooky narrator Steve.

Improv Everywhere Broadway
Participants in the Improv Everywhere event at one point “walked a tightrope”. Photo: Improv Everywhere

After surprising random strangers in the area with high-fives, dollar bills, dramatic dance steps and a host of unexpected synchronized movements, participants convened on a new public plaza on Broadway between 39th and 40th Streets for a colorful celebration and a bubble-filled finale. 

“We were very excited to work with the Garment District Alliance to activate their new pedestrian plaza. Just a couple of years ago this block was choked with car traffic. Now, it’s a great public space for all. Hopefully, one day all of Broadway will be like this, creating a Broadway Linear Park,” said an Improv Everywhere spokesperson.

The madcap event was the 18th iteration of Improv Everywhere’s annual MP3 Experiment. Created by Charlie Todd and Tyler Walker, with all music by Tyler Walker, it is held every summer in New York City — and also celebrated worldwide.

“A huge thanks to the amazing community of people that continue to come out to be a part of this event every year. We’re so proud of what a diverse, joyful celebration the MP3 Experiment has become,” the spokesperson continued. “As silly as the project is, it’s life-affirming to be in a crowd of strangers, all smiling, laughing, and working together!”

If you’d like to take part in the future, sign up to the email list to be the first to hear details for 2024. There’s also an NYC Mp3 Experiment Facebook group.

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