‘Supreme’ congestion: Cult skate shop’s new W’burg outpost will bring influx of crowds to nabe, locals say • Brooklyn Paper

‘Supreme’ congestion: Cult skate shop’s new W’burg outpost will bring influx of crowds to nabe, locals say

Crowded: Barricades contained the masses that lined up to enter the Williamsburg outpost of Supreme, a skate shop that opened its new Grand Street store on Thursday.

This cool kid isn’t getting the warmest welcome.

The new Williamsburg outpost of a skate shop with a massive cult following will draw throngs of people in search of the brand’s exclusive merchandise to area streets, said some worried locals, who described the opening-day crowd outside the store on Thursday morning as similar to the rowdy groups that pack the nabe’s main drag during prime time.

“It was something you’d see on Bedford Avenue on a Friday night, but was happening at 9 am,” said Jumi Cha, who lives a few blocks away from the Supreme store on Grand Street between Bedford Avenue and Berry Street.

The brand is known for its limited-edition clothing and accessories, which are released on a near-weekly basis every Thursday and attract masses of people hoping to get their hands on the goods. By 10:30 am, approximately 20 security guards were stationed on the streets surrounding the store and at a check-in point on South 2nd Street near Wythe Avenue, where people who were chosen to attend the opening via a lottery arrived to receive further instructions before entering the line to get in.

The queue outside of the actual store spanned less than a block, but the scene at the check-in point was much different. Approximately a hundred people stood inside barricades set up around it, and kids perched on nearby residential stoops to catch a glimpse of the action.

Supreme’s owners put a special plan together specifically to mitigate the effects that the opening-day crowd would have on sidewalk traffic, positioning the swag security guards outside the store to keep fans from clogging the streets and re-selling the merchandise — a popular pastime that was banned within a mile of the shop, according to an attendee who received a copy of rules that were distributed before the opening.

And there were so many guards on site that some passersby said the scene recalled the arrival of a presence far greater than a skate shop.

“It’s crazy, it looks like the president is coming or something,” said Haneef Shaik, a Chicago resident vacationing in Brooklyn. “It’s like some CIA, FBI s—.”

But the heavy security was only in place for the grand opening, according to one guard, and it is unclear how crowds will be managed on future Thursdays.

Supreme recently started using a lottery system to keep order outside its Manhattan store after the groups that regularly gather there turned chaotic, according to another opening-day attendee, who said the ruckus deterred some patrons from trying their luck.

“The lines were always madness and kind of shady,” the fan said.

The new shop — which also boasts a huge skate bowl — occupies the former home of the Koolman ice-cream truck garage, where drivers used to set up tables for people to hang out and eat frosty treats. But Supreme won’t foster the same sort of unity in the community because it will likely only attract transient visitors, said Cha, the local.

“You could definitely tell [Koolman] was integrated with the neighborhood,” she said. “Now the exact opposite is happening — people outside the neighborhood come in for a few hours, get some exclusive merchandise, then just leave.”

The resident admitted Supreme is better than some other tenants that could have taken the space, but said the store is still just another way that people are cashing in on the trendy nabe.

“It has some semblance of culture to it at least, but it’s also really gross consumerism,” Cha said.

Representatives from Supreme did not return a request for comment.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Chosen ones: People who lined up to attend the shop’s opening were selected via a lottery in order to keep crowds to a minimum.
Community News Group / Lauren Gill

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