New Nike store creates chaos in SoHo, angers neighbors

Posted at 11:38 AM, Nov 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-27 11:38:20-05

SOHO, Manhattan — A new Nike store that was expected to be a big hit has instead angered SoHo residents and created a crowding issue in the popular shopping area.

The New York Post reported that the 55,000 square-foot store, which opened on Nov. 18, has been drawing large and unruly crowds that clog sidewalks and block store entrances.

A number of SoHo residents are fed up with the new neighborhood nuisance at Broadway and Spring Street.

The Post quoted longtime SoHo resident Pete Davies, who said he heard “crazy screaming” and described the scene as “a nightclub” around 11:30 a.m. on the store’s opening day.

“I was sitting in my [home] office with the windows closed when all of a sudden I heard all this crazy screaming,” Davies told the Post. “It looked like a nightclub, not a store. There were big guys like bouncers out front yelling and pushing people.”

“It was a ridiculous mess. One of the most disruptive events of this type I’ve ever seen,” Davies said.

A doorman at a nearby Broadway building told the Post crowds blocked sidewalks in the area and even building entrances across the street from their sportswear destination.

Nike has reportedly assured neighbors that they have a “crowd control” plan in place, according to the Post. Locals said they have not seen any measures put into place.

The store is an outlet which sells exclusive shoe designs and features a digital interactive basketball court. Another feature is Nike’s “Swoosh Saturdays” which are another concern for SoHo residents. These “Swoosh” events reportedly attract large crowds since they typically feature a celebrity guest or an athletic event, and neighbors said they dread these events because of the potential for an even bigger disturbance.

Construction began on the store two years ago, and SoHo residents have resisted it every step of the way. Despite a zoning law that limits retailers to 10,000 square feet, the Nike store was able to build a 55,000 square-foot store due to a loophole in which city officials considered the project a building “alteration,” the Post reported.

Department of Buildings spokesperson Joseph Soldevere told the Post the project was reviewed “numerous times” and was determined to have “complied with the NYC Construction Codes.”

According to CurbedNY, the controversial store was supposed to open on Veteran’s Day, but was delayed due to a rescinded DOB permit and protest from the neighborhood.

City leaders joined the protest, calling the new store a burden to an already over-saturated shopping area and a threat to the historic character of the neighborhood.

The DOB reportedly wanted to review the building’s electrical and plumbing systems before allowing the store to open.