On the Potential of Wire-Hung Footwear

Has someone just given juvenile delinquency a good name?

Shoes tied together and flung up onto wires are certainly nothing new. The usual array consists of ho-hum Converses and Nikes, but a recent stroll through the nebulous border between Astoria and Long Island City revealed a pair of stilettos dangling from their straps.

Certain cities are known for streets adorned with graffiti tags or destroyed cars. Their impact on quality of life is obvious. But a pair of pumps on the wire could be the start (or the middle) of a bustling dialog of street life.

Then there’s the buzzkill when considering the costs to utility companies that have to extract these offerings of rubber and suede. Costs they no doubt pass on to customers. But once they’ve got the footwear down, what do they do with them? The Salvation Army, perhaps.

But in this town teeming with entrepreneurship, the utility companies have an opportunity to make a quick buck. Anyone with a ladder will have the same chance. It’s all about the marketing. I can see the recovered shoes coveted by fashionistas as the next urban trend. Secondhand stores specializing in “wire hung” footwear will crop up in the vacant, high-rent storefronts of the East Village. Of course, each pair will be sold with a photo authenticating its previous digs above the sidewalk. The more clever stores will do away with racks altogether and hang the shoes on indoor cables conveniently strung at arm level, to score that edgy ambiance. We will begin hearing one shopper say to another: “Those Converses were up on 14th Street? That’s nothing. Mine were hanging above St. Mark’s Place.”

Property values may or may not increase in areas of vigorous shoe-wire activity.

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About OmnivorousTraveler

Darrin DuFord is a travel writer, mapgazer, and jungle rodent connoisseur. His writing has won numerous awards and has appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, BBC Travel, Gastronomica, and Perceptive Travel, among other publications. He is the author of Is There a Hole in the Boat? Tales of Travel in Panama without a Car, silver medalist in the 2007 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Awards.
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