"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

New York Minute

Found on the walk between uptown pre-schools a few weeks ago: one of New York City’s greatest mysteries.

To me, anyway. The first time I remember seeing sneakers strung across telephone wires I was in the Bronx around Yankee Stadium. I asked why, and I’m sure I received an answer, but the answer didn’t have sufficient tack to stay with me.

Here are a bunch of theories, though not exclusive to New York. I like the idea that when you get a new pair, you throw the old ones up there. And since my wife snapped this pic on a block between my kids’ schools, let’s be tooptimistic and rule out the crack, murder and gang-related explanations.



1 Sliced Bread   ~  Feb 16, 2012 10:34 am

I look at it as littering. For me it has the same effect as seeing someone's garbage spread out on their fire escape.

How about when you get a new pair of sneakers you either throw out your old ones, or clean them up and donate them to people who need shoes?

2 Jon DeRosa   ~  Feb 16, 2012 11:34 am

Not to endorse littering or anything, but assuming there are no rattlesnakes nor manure around 218th st and school doesn't end for months and months, I'll take littering over harrassment, drug dens and gang activity any day of the week.

3 thelarmis   ~  Feb 16, 2012 1:02 pm

yeah, i've never understood - or liked this - either. those explanations are all nonsense, too. i'm just not a fan of this whole thing, on a lot of levels...

4 Greg G   ~  Feb 16, 2012 1:07 pm

It would be pretty gross if you are standing underneath those old kicks in a rainstorm too.

You might end up with athlete's foot on your head.

5 Alex Belth   ~  Feb 16, 2012 1:51 pm

I've always heard it was something related to drug dealing.

6 thelarmis   ~  Feb 16, 2012 1:57 pm

[5] ooh, more reasons to just hate this!

7 RagingTartabull   ~  Feb 16, 2012 3:16 pm

the two I always heard were a) it meant you could get drugs at whatever building it was in front of or b) you were in gang (Bloods, IIRC) territory.

I have no idea if either were ever true, I think at this point it's just something kids do just because.

8 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Feb 16, 2012 3:53 pm

Hey, guys! So I was digging up videos of old NY, as I am wont to do, and I turned up the coolest thing!


A certain Yankee makes a very surprising cameo and there's some real cool camera work all around!

9 Alex Belth   ~  Feb 16, 2012 4:21 pm

8) Great minds. We linked to that yesterday: http://bit.ly/AvYGXQ

10 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Feb 16, 2012 6:08 pm

[9] What????

Are you fucking kidding me???

THAT is spooky, my friend.

Really, that's just too fucking much.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver