After a brief delay due to zoning issues, Nike’s new New York flagship store in the Soho neighborhood officially opened its doors to the public on Nov. 18. While many athletes and sneakerheads are enjoying the massive five-story, 55,000 sq.-ft. location, not everyone is thrilled about Nike’s new residency.
The New York Post spoke with several locals who are less than pleased with the droves of shoppers and excitement generated by the store, with one longtime resident likening the scene in Soho to a busy nightclub. “I was sitting in my [home] office with the windows closed when all of a sudden I heard all this crazy screaming,” said Pete Davies. “There were big guys like bouncers out front yelling and pushing people.”
Davies says he’s lived in Soho for 35 years and calls the Nike store opening “one of the most disruptive events of this type I’ve ever seen.”
Nike’s Soho flagship — located at 529 Broadway — was originally slated to open on Nov. 11, but was delayed due to a dispute over zoning regulations that state new retailers cannot exceed 10,000 square feet. On Nov. 9, protestors gathered at New York’s Department of Buildings, which says it reviewed the project multiple times before ultimately deciding that it complied with the city’s construction codes.
Some believe Nike was able to find a loophole in the zoning regulations by labeling the store as a building alteration instead of a new space, but that’s done little to appease locals.
“We’ve completely lost faith in the Department of Buildings. They’re a fantasy. There is no Department of Buildings,” said Soho boutique owner Michele Varian. “The old New York we all love is being trampled on and Soho is on the brink to be the second Times Square.”