Tempers were high Friday morning outside of Jimmy Jazz clothing store in Astoria, where about 30 sneaker connoisseurs were trying to get their hands on limited-edition Nikes.
“If you have swag, and you have the money, you’re going to wear them,” a customer who wouldn’t give his name said.
Nike periodically releases different colors of Nike Air Foamposite Ones, but once each color runs out — and they do go quick — the company doesn’t reproduce that same hue again.
The all-black “Stealth,” released on Dec. 14, sold out immediately online at Nike.com and at Footlocker. However, the shoes could still be found in shops around the city.
“For those of you who weren’t lucky enough to get a pair online, good luck trying to get your hands on them. Also, remember that they’re just shoes, and that youshouldn’tjeopardizeyour safety for them,” said Kicks onfire.com, a website devoted to sneakers.
Last summer a man was stabbed to death in Maryland while trying to buy Retro Foamposites.
To avoid possibly dangerous lines, Footlocker doled out tickets starting on Dec. 9 for the shoes. When customers’ tickets were drawn they would be called to come pick up their shoes. Some customers said they liked the system because they didn’t have to take time off work to stand in line, where others thought it was confusing and unfair.
Jimmy Jazz on Steinway Street stuck with the traditional method — the line. Some shoppers spent the night outside of the shoe retailer for the chance to buy the kicks that cost about $220. The longer they waited, the more anxious the crowd of about 30, mostly men, got.
The manager, who was letting customers in two at a time, repeatedly asked the crowd to stand back.
A police officer yelled at the men to “Get the f*** back.”
“They are scared they could be rushed or robbed,” said Joseph La Luz, an Astorian who got in line outside the store at 9 a.m.
Once they purchase the objects of their desire, many customers keep them to show off their style, but others sell the shoes online for a profit, said Danny Macias, shoe enthusiast and community liaison at the office of Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria), who was at a park cleanup around the corner.
A few years ago Macias waited in a similar line to buy his copper color Foamposites, which commemorated former professional basketball player Penny Hardaway.
He said he would stand in line all over again “if I didn’t have a job.”
But then again if he didn’t have a job, he might not have money to pay for the sneakers.
“Do they shoot lasers out the front?” Vallone asked.