Braving the rain for kicks in Harvard Square
Stinking junkies weren't the only ones sleeping on Harvard Square sidewalks this past week. More than 300 sneaker heads queued outside of street-shoe mecca Concepts, on Brattle Street, for five days and nights — through the foulest rain spell in recent memory — in anticipation of last Saturday's release of the world's only 260 pairs of Nike Blue Lobster SB Dunks.
"Our neighbors definitely hate us," said Concepts retail manager Deon Point. "As a businessman myself, I can definitely understand that, but I think it's important that we bring a diverse group of people to Harvard Square, and overall I think everybody waiting out there has been pretty good."
Lined up for three blocks — and past the Brattle Theatre — Nike nuts shielded their fitted hats and crispy kicks with a mess of tents, plastic bags, and tarps. Some stayed on the sidewalk for days without leaving, using area bathrooms and alleyways to clean up and relieve themselves; others took shifts protecting spaces while their friends retreated to nearby hotel rooms.
"It took us 20 hours to get here," said Mike Isaiah, who drove from Cleveland with four friends who each showered once a day at the Waltham Holiday Inn. "Right now, we're all talking like we're going to wear [the Blue Lobsters] when we get them, but I'll probably end up selling mine on eBay for like $1500."
Like the oddly pigmented crustaceans of the same name, the $250-a-pair Nike Blue Lobsters are exceptionally rare. In addition to the opportunity to flip the gems at high mark-ups, those who waited patiently also got custom packaging and laces, commemorative Blue Lobster T-shirts, and Alien Workshop skateboard decks that were manufactured specifically for the occasion.
Concepts — the only store in Massachusetts to ever collaborate on such a line with Nike — had a similar rush in May 2008, when 260 people turned out for 200 pairs of their exclusive Red Lobsters. Still, this recent craze lured the biggest crowd yet; on Saturday night, store management even threw in a Boston Harbor boat cruise with performances by Statik Selektah and Termanology to cherry-top the occasion. (Even those without fresh Lobsters were invited.)
"We've actually had fun out here," said Medford swoosh aficionado David Le, who arrived early Tuesday morning to secure the coveted first spot in line. "The other night, there were bums fighting on the street, and earlier today a kid walked by with fake [Kanye West Air Yeezys], so we surrounded him and taped it so we could blow his shit up on YouTube."
"I quit my job at CVS for this," added Isidro Moreno of Chelsea. "They wouldn't give me four days off, so I told them to go fuck themselves. And I'd do it again if I had to."