In the middle of Palace’s new New York flagship there’s a bronze cherub-like sculpture holding a “P” and urinating into a P-shaped pool of water. On its Instagram account, Palace, a popular streetwear brand based in London, identified the structure as a fountain of youth and a temple of pea pea.
This type of humor is intrinsic to Palace Skateboards, which was founded by Lev Tanju in 2014, and the fountain is Instagram bait for the young crowd — people started to gather at 49 Howard Street on Thursday afternoon in anticipation of the store opening on Friday morning.
About an hour before the shop opened at 11 a.m., things were civilized and a sizable line of shoppers snaked down Mercer Street — at one point the crowd erupted in excitement when YouTube star Casey Neistat skateboarded down the block. Then the store opened and disorder ensued, so much so that the New York City Police Department had to close down the shop and turn away customers.
“Palaceskateboards should have had a system in place for something like this. [It] could have taken people’s names down or something. [I] waited in the rain since 4 a.m. and didn’t get anything,” commented @noraasofficial on Palace’s Instagram post. “Police shut it down — Palace didn’t have enough security, couldn’t handle cutters or bullies, and people were fighting and got arrested,” commented @theskiftesvik.
Before that, the crowd was singing Palace’s praises and happy about the opening of its first U.S. store, which meant they no longer had to depend on a small selection at Dover Street Market or the Palace e-commerce site that used to drop product based on London time. And if they didn’t have access to those, they had to rely on high-priced pieces from resellers.
“I have no Palace pieces currently because I didn’t want to pay extra money,” said Antonio Pinelli, an 18-year-old from Connecticut. “If I can’t get it for retail then I just won’t get it. There’ve been cases when I’ve come close to paying resale for items because I like them so much, but as of now, I’m really happy I can get something for retail.”
As far as why he likes the brand, Pinelli, who got in line at 6:30 a.m., said he’s drawn to its graphics.
“Personally I like their designs and their graphics. The Tri-ferg logo has a really simplistic and clean look that a lot of people want.”
Asma Begum, one of the few young women standing in line, agreed.
“I want a shirt because it looks cute and because of the design,” she said.
Asked if she was purchasing anything to resell, she offered an emphatic no.
“That’s corny,” she responded.
Nicholas Coraein also quickly identified himself as a “wearer” and not a reseller.
“There’s this weird riff because resellers are pretty much necessary for people to get a hold of stuff, but also they f–ked up streetwear in a way,” said Coraein, who was referring to resellers blocking people from getting affordable product.
Andre Arias, who was at the front of the line, was one of those resellers. He mostly buys and sells Supreme but said the Palace opening is a big opportunity for other New Yorkers in his line of business who haven’t had much access to the product before.
“Nobody in America carried the full line. No one had the good stuff, so we are psyched about this store,” Arias said.
When asked if this opening would have any impact on the Supreme drops, Arias presumes it won’t.
“They don’t drop every week like Supreme. They only drop two or three times a season,” he said.
The new shop, which sits between Mercer Street and Broadway, is in a prime area for streetwear and sneaker retailers. It’s a few yards away from Billionaire Boys Club, down the street from NikeLab and right next door to Stadium Goods, a sneaker resale shop. John McPheters, the cofounder and chief executive officer of Stadium Goods, welcomes the new store.
“We are excited about them coming on the block,” McPheters said. “It’s really exciting in terms of the energy they bring to the street. Any time you open it takes time to get your ducks in the row, but we think they are a nice addition to the neighborhood.”
Company officials declined to comment about the store and its entry into the American market.
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