Today marks the 3 year anniversary of one of the craziest trips of my life. A trip that took me to the streets of New York where I slept on the cold sidewalk outside the Adidas store in Soho for a chance to own a limited edition pair of Star Wars sneakers.
I recorded this off the TV when it aired for real on G4’s Attack of the Show. If you look at the right side of the screaming fans, the dude in the hat with the glasses is me. For a higher quality version of this clip, click here.
Back in November of 2009, a friend of mine sent me a link to a sneaker website that had a preview of sneakers that Adidas were going to be releasing, limited edition Star Wars Adidas. After seeing that link I made it my mission to own a pair, the best pair, the Skywalkers. This was the beginning of an epic 3 and a half month quest to track down these shoes.
To read a detailed account of my adventure click the Continue Reading button below. Clicking it will lead you to the following: First, a video summarizing the trip using [my] voice over while you enjoy a slideshow of the pictures I took. This video allows you to bypass the excruciatingly long account. Second, the full story I wrote when I got back to Fitchburg. Included in the story are more pictures and another YouTube video from the event.
The following is the aforementioned detailed account of my journey to the Adidas Originals store in NYC for the release of the limited edition Luke Skywalker shoes.
Sleeping on a Soho City Block
At 7:30pm on Wednesday February 3rd 2010, I took the commuter rail train from Fitchburg to Boston. I got into North Station at 9 and took the orange line to Downtown Crossing where I switched to the red line and got off one stop later at South Station. I walked to the bus terminal where I checked in with Lucky Star. I then walked to gate 23 and waited from 9:30 to 11. I passed the time reading Route 2 and listening to music. At 11pm I boarded a bus that had seen better days and I was off from Boston to New York City.
The bus driver was crazy, speeding, and beeping every time he changed lanes. After a while I got a little bit of rest but I never really slept. I couldn’t stop thinking of the shoes, if I’d be the only one there, if there’d be a line, or if I’d get mugged waiting outside the store in the wee small hours of the morning. When I woke, it was 2am and I could already recognize familiar sites, we were close but weren’t we due to arrive at 3? Sure enough we got to Christie St (near China Town) at 2:30am.
I got off the bus, took out the map I’d printed off the internet, and started walking. I got to the first main street and realized I was heading the wrong way, off to a good start. I consulted my map and chalked up my disorientation to the fact that we had been dropped off a block away from where we were supposed to be. No matter, I was now on course and made my way through the cold dark streets of the city. About 15 minutes later I arrived at Wooster St.
In the distance I saw one person in a sleeping bag already in line. I walked up to him and he told me his name was Sebastian. He said that he’d been there since 2 (this later changed to 1am). He told me that he had been to the last release on January 15 and picked up a few pairs of kicks then too. We talked about the shoes and I told him about myself. Told him how I was skipping three classes to be here (I later found out that two were canceled so I only ended up missing one). All this time I’d been sitting on a piece of cardboard that he had gotten to sleep on. He told me there was more around the corner and I ran and got a chunk for myself. Soon after I got back he said he was gonna go to bed. I followed his lead busting out my blanket from my backpack but leaving all my valuables inside along with my extra sweatshirt to make the backpack serve as a pillow.
I lay there with my eyes closed but my feet even with the blanket were too cold for me to sleep. Plus I was still wired at the fact I was actually there, an event I’d been anticipating and stressing over since mid-December. Some time later I was disrupted by a trash truck which came by at who knows what time. After what felt like and hour on my left side, my arm was starting to hurt, so I switched to the right side. Shortly after making the switch a car rolled up and a man got out. I heard a black mans voice say “Nice, campin’ out.”
Now aware of a third person in line and the feeling of being watched, even if by just another friendly shoe fan, I limited my movements. Soon however, the pain was in my right arm, so I made another switch. This one lasted even shorter and soon I surrendered to the idea that tonight I would not be sleeping. I sat up and looked to my right but no one was there, only a hat serving as a placeholder for a body. The owner soon returned, he had been at his car and I simply didn’t notice him. “Wassup man” the guy said. He was Asian, I’d mistaken an Asian New Yorker from Long Island for a black man.
He told me his name was Tat, short for Tatsyouo. He too had been to the first release and that time he had gotten there at Midnight. I asked him what time it was and he told me it was 4:30 but he’d arrived at 4. I basically had the same conversation with Tat as I’d had with Sebastian whom I now hoped he was really asleep so he wouldn’t have to hear it all again. Tat shook my hand at the fact that I’d come all the way from Mass, he called it dedication. He told me that it was colder this time than it had been at the last release. I saw a sign on the way in to the city that read 33 degrees but it felt more like 20 or 25. I guess it was the extended exposure to the cold that made it feel colder. In any case, we were at least fortunate that it was not windy. Tat and I basically talked and tried to stay warm till around 6:30 when he decided to back his car up so we could sit in the warmth while visually guarding our spot in line. We had also left a couple belongings as placeholders, him his hat, me my blanket, just in case.
The sun started to come up which brightened my mood. The city slowly opened its eyes and the streets slowly increased in activity. At around 7, the manager of the store came and began to set things up inside. At around 7:15, a well-dressed man came walking over to the store. Tat rolled down the window and asked if he was here for the shoes. He told us he was the marketing guy. He knocked on the door and when the manager didn’t come, he began posting No Parking signs on polls on both sides of the street.
Sebastian woke up at 7:45 to the most activity he or the street had seen in a while. We got out of the Jeep to greet him. Soon after, a Budget truck came and the driver as well as the marketing guy unloaded metal barriers, small poles, and red velvet ropes. These were set up by 8 and at this time Tat moved his car to a parking garage that had just opened.
While he was away, we were joined by two guys from Queens. The were Ecuadorian and were wearing the Star Wars SuperStars Adidas had released in 2007. At around 8:30 Tat went for coffee and when he got back spots four and five, the Ecuadorians went for coffee. Soon two more people arrived. Things were slowly speeding up as more employees arrived and the metal storefront barrier was lifted. We moved our cardboard, and the line was pushed from in front of the store, to out of the way. The metal barriers were moved in front of us.
Soon a pickup truck pulled up and parked on the opposite side of the street. There was a wooden box in the back with different Star Wars images painted on all the sides. Painted on the back was a scale image of R2-D2. This led us to believe that there was a full scale R2 in the box. Sure enough, the truck pulled over to our side of the street and the driver and passenger unloaded a remote control R2-D2. By this time more people had arrived and the Ecuadorians returned with coffee for themselves as well as one for me. At this time the press arrived and the store got set up even more.
By around 10 there was a fair amount of press. I put on my headphones and listened to the New Hope soundtrack. This took about an hour and ended perfectly in time because soon the Imperial Music started and the Imperial March was finally here. The 501st Legion arrived with 50 Stormtroopers led by Darth Vader and Snoop Dogg. After they did their thing the press came over and interviewed and took pictures of us. I did an interview with the New York Magazine who were surprised I got there so early and that I was from Massachusetts. After that there was a quick shoot for the G4 TV program Attack Of The Show, specifically the Sneaker Heads segment (see video at top of post).
Once these were done it was back to the waiting game. We had to wait for the press to take pics inside the store of the 501st and Snoop. We had to wait for the 501st to clear out of the store. We had to wait for Snoop Dogg and his crew to buy their shoes along with a couple other VIPs. And we had to wait for Snoop and his crew to leave.
Finally by 12:30 we were once again lined up, this time behind a velvet rope, in front of the store. We were let in five at a time and each got a personal employee to ourselves. I got a cute short black girl who asked what shoes I wanted. I told her Skywalker size eights and followed her to the back of the store. I waited on a seat and she brought them out to me. I tried them on and they felt great. Next I took them to the register and was done with my $100 purchase by 12:41. They gave me stickers and a Darth Vader poster. I wanted to do and see more but I was so tired that I just put the shoes in my bag and walked out of the store.
I power walked back through the streets now full of life and strangely different in new days light. I was tired and relived but still nervous that I’d get mugged or that the bus would crash. I arrived at 59 Christie street at 1:05 and there was a Lucky Star Bus waiting to leave. I asked if it was going to Boston and if I could still get on. The woman said yes and where I knew the rates, took out a 20, for a $15 fair, got my ticket, and five dollars back, and got on the bus with the ten other passengers. Each of us had several rows to ourselves so we could spread out and nap.
The bus pulled away from the curb and I started making tired phone calls to all my friends and family that I had told about the shoes. I took pictures of the New York skyline in the highway traffic out of the city. The city had treated me well. I arranged to be picked up by my dad at Oak Grove and finally got some sleep. Part of the way through Connecticut the bus driver read my mind and stopped for BK, I got a chicken sandwich and a raspberry ice tea. On the way back I took out and admired my shoes. The rest of the way I napped on and off. By 5:30, we arrived in the South Station Bus terminal, finally back in my city. Boston.
Lastly, this link will take you to an article on Nice Kicks dot com where you download hi res pics of the kicks for your computer’s wallpaper. Additionally, if you search “skywalker” or “Star Wars Adidas” you can find even more articles and info about these shoes.