A few shots from over off of Norman Ave, in the (primarily) Polish section of Greenpoint and in Williamsburg in the northside (fyi-formerly known as Greenpoint). And here we have a few hangin out above Starr Street in Bushwick. But we all know that Brooklyn isnt the only place you see these damn things. They are in probably every urban environment in the universe. In each case, the reason is slightly different than other cases and this seems to both puzzle as well as amuse shoefitti gawkers to no end. What makes a person want to throw their damn shoes over a telephone line and leave them? Are they playing a trick on their short friend? Are they hoping to get better telephone reception? Are those shoes wet? Everytime that I throw a shot of shoes over a powerline, theres always someone that wants to know the significance. justiNYC figures it might be a good time to throw a few link bones out about the 'shoe thing.' The truth is, everyone has some sort of version of the same story that they tell. According to CityNoise, "In Brooklyn, tradition dictates that when you get a new pair of shoes, you throw your old pair over the streetlight or powerlines on your corner." Some others (such as those at the Museum of Hoaxes) believe that there are intricate codes attached to the abandoned dangling feet attire...such as "here's where you can get drugs!' Although a very amusing possibility, the Hoaxes' conclusion is most likely closer to the mark:
Maybe objects hanging from power lines simply mean that kids have thrown things up there to be obnoxious.
It certainly is amazing the lengths that people will go to to invent new urban legends.In the case of these particular shoes, justiNYC can be pretty sure that the reason for those dangling in Greenpoint has something to do with an entire building full of pro to semipro skaters that happen to live around the corner. A couple of years back, these same lines were drooping so far down (because of the shoes) that the telephone company had to come around and cut them down. When you get a steady stream of free shoes to test and wear out, what better not clutter your closet than to just keep them outside. Perhaps that would be a good marketing scheme for some sort of shoe company...just hang a few pairs of the new shoes around the hood and create a buzz about it. In fact, the LOFTNINJA even played around with an idea once when advertising a loft for sale in Williamsburg on Craigslist and Curbed even picked it out as the week's Bizarre Marketing Strategy. When I asked the LoftNinja what he thought about that, he merely replied "It worked!" To this day, I would be surprised if ole Lockhart even knew who it was.Whatever the case may be, the fact remains that the whole sneakers over powerline situation is everywhere and no one can really say that there is any one particular reason for the shoes being thrown over the powerlines. We all have different reasons for doing the things that we do. There are entire blogs devoted to the issue. Take for example, Shoefiti or the Flickr photo pool for shoefiti sightings. According to Wiki, shoe slinging in the arab world is a gesture of extreme disrespect. Its much like Shepard Fairey's Obey art that began back when justiNYC was finishing high school in South Carolina. In those days, "Andre the Giant has a Posse" stickers were beginning to find themselves stuck to anything and everything within the public's reach. Distributed mostly by skateboard toting street surfers and graffiti artists, it was in a sense , just a way to redefine your environment in a nonspecific way. How could it ever offend someone if it isn't directly attacking anyone? Explained merely as an 'experiment with phenomenology', Shepard was willing to test the strength of the message by making it the medium. It is 'the thing that exists in and of itself .'[a little about phenomenology]With no real (specifically) intended meaning or definition for what it supposedly meant or why one should assume it happened to be stuck whereeverit might be, people were left to just draw their own conclusions. The sticker might even be said to have taken on a life of its own- in an environment that doesn't know what to make of it. Kierkegaard might have described it as the 'relata'- or 'the relationship that relates itself to itself.' We live in a world where we are taught to believe that other people are supposed to teach us the meaning of everything and that we should rely upon those meanings and trust in their truth. When you put it that way, it seems pretty shitty that our lives become consumed with allowing others to draw our conclusions for us and that one might ultimately wake up one day and realize that they have constructed their entire life from hand-me-down explanations and hearsay. The shoe thing and the Andre stickers are examples of things that 'get seen' on accident- images or scenes that reoccur in our mind's eye and in our daily walk with the environment that cannot be fully explained in any one real (definative) sense. The most interesting thing about it seems to be that people somehow never know what to think about them all the time in the same exact way when alone, but somehow become very interested in the reasons behind it when discussing the trivial nature of them with others. And that's the beauty of it all...things that we don't understand bring us together. In the end, we still don't understand....but at least we have something to talk about.
The idea is simple: whilst swinging you simply launch one of your shoes from your feet. The person whose shoe goes furthest wins. It can undertake many variations, flinging your shoes backwards for example, or flinging both shoes at the same time. Shoe Flinging is a widespread phenomenon throughout the world. -wikiSee more of Obey at Streetsy's Obey Giant Photostream Blog about Shoefiti Wikipedia Shoe Flinging