Nearly 20 known sneaker sightings recently sparked a demand for change among Morris Park residents – a move they believe will clean up their image.
Community Board 11 district manager John Fratta explained the call for action saying, “We’ve been getting complaints about the shoes on the telephone wires.”
More than a street-beautification effort, Fratta said area residents are deeply concerned with the connotations, false as they may be, the hanging footwear represents.
While no one really knows the reason behind the telephone line-sneaker trick, numerous theories have come to pass.
Most widely believed to be the sign of gang activity or site of street drug sales, folklore also denotes the sneaker sling as a celebration for men who lost their virginity.
Though more than a dozen explanations continue to claim the reasoning behind the obscure act, all continue to remain inconclusive.
“So it’s about protection more than anything else,” Fratta stated about the necessity to debunk the claims.
Not agreeing, however, was Con Edison.
“I guess they looked at it as a trivial matter,” Fratta commented about their total lack of participation with the issue.
Not knowing where else to turn, he said he looked to Councilman Jimmy Vacca for some needed assistance.
Though eager to get involved, Nivardo Lopez, constituent liaison in Vacca’s office, said their immediate response for involvement quickly turned into a drawn out investigation.
With Cable Vision, Verizon and FDNY wires, among others, creating a web of unmarked territory over the neighborhood, Lopez said determining which company owned the wire that coordinated with the hanging footwear was an increasingly difficult task.
Then, to his great luck and appreciation, Cable Vision stepped in.
“They took care of theirs right away,” Lopez explained about their cooperative efforts to remove the sneakers.
Lopez further explained the company took initiative to compile a master list that clearly identified which line was which company’s responsibility.
From then on, they soared.
“We’ve gotten a good response from the different utilities about removing the sneakers,” Lopez commented, pleased with results of the unique initiative.
Also thrilled, Fratta said, are the homeowners throughout Morris Park.
“People are happy they’re finally removed,” he said. “Now we just need to hope those crazy kids don’t throw them up there again.”
Lopez said Vacca’s office would continue their efforts until all known sneaker locations are in the clear.