Life 36 Hour Shoe Line
When I first saw the line of people bundled up and waiting on 6th Ave downtown between Pike and Pine, I thought: parade? soup kitchen? No, they’ve set up the folding chairs and grabbed the blankets for the release of a new Air Jordan shoe by Niketown Friday at midnight.
There’s only about 15 people who’ve set up camp so far, but the guys at the front of the line are adamant that by tomorrow night, the line will stretch around the corner. “People’ll form a second line and try to cut us,” said one young guy, “They’ll try…”
The first guy in line has been waiting since yesterday morning, but he’s been counting down to the day he can own the shoes for much longer — he started planning the wait when Nike announced the release date for the $155 Air Jordan 5 Retro (also called Grapes because they’re officially emerald and grape colored) last January. He’s taking vacation time from his job to wait for the shoes.
I don’t get it, I said. First of all, they’re just shoes. And couldn’t you just buy them online? Or wait a week? I’m all for seeing movies on opening midnights, but tickets only cost $155 in New York and LA.
Plus, movies are entertaining. Shoes are shoes, which aren’t fun.
The Air Jordan-obsessors say they’ve heard it all before; people walking by are often sarcastic or plain bewildered. But they justified it by saying they remember when the first Air Jordans came out and they were too young to buy them then. And, they say the shoes will be sold out as soon as they’re released and online they’re being scalped at (more) outrageous prices. They’re right — the shoes are selling for more than $200 on eBay.
Anyway, I’m sure Nike is thrilled. A few blocks away I noticed a street grafitti tag by cosmetics company Urban Decay: spray paint on the sidewalk trying to make it seem like they have some sort of popular following within the city.