General Question

TitsMcGhee's avatar

What does it mean when someone throws shoes over a telephone line?

Asked by TitsMcGhee (8281points) March 11th, 2009

I know what it used to mean when someone threw two tennis shoes tied together over a telephone line (or some other suspended thing); it used to mean that you’d be able to find a drug dealer (of various varieties) there. Is that still true? Wouldn’t the cops have figured that out yet? I see shoes constantly in NYC’s Chinatown, and some in Brooklyn and SoHo, but haven’t seen them many other places. Any ideas?

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24 Answers

Lothloriengaladriel's avatar

i think it means they killed someone?
I have no idea to be honest lol

loser's avatar

I know it means somebody is short a pair of shoes.

kapuerajam's avatar

Sometimes gangs use it to mark territory

Bri_L's avatar

@loser – lurve for the answer and new icon.

BoyWonder's avatar

I think it’s when someone from that hood had died

tinyfaery's avatar

I think the gang thing is a myth. Tradition and teenagers are my answer.

SeventhSense's avatar

@loser new streamlined look..nice
I remember doing it as a kid and it had no significance other than we could laugh when we saw a pair of sneakers that no one could get down. It was a kind of tag. There’s no end to what kids will do to make a mess. It was like breaking windows. No reason other than to get away with it…I was so bad.

Response moderated
SeventhSense's avatar

Lot’s of pop ups from that link.

Bri_L's avatar

Oh sorry. I went there and searched and found the answer with no pop ups. I also have them blocked. My bad, I didn’t know .


augustlan's avatar

[Mod says] Your wish is my command.

Bri_L's avatar

Thanks. I had no idea it did that because I have pop ups blocked.

And thank you for letting me know SeventhSense.

SeventhSense's avatar

I do too and that’s what’s weird..

cookieman's avatar


cookieman's avatar

well, it was worth a shot

jlm11f's avatar

@cprevite – Don’t you know? The only food item Ben and Andrew deliver is guacamole :)

MacBean's avatar

Here are some past answers, if you’re interested.

dynamicduo's avatar

What else are you going to do with a pair of old ratty shoes? Seems throwing them over a power line is one of the more fun things you can do with an old pair of shoes. I don’t believe the “gang territory” theory at all.

SherlockPoems's avatar

It is my understanding that it means drugs are sold in the area.

adreamofautumn's avatar

Where I come from (and it seems to be particular to my age group) they’re thrown over phone lines after somebody lost their virginity in a near location. <<< other possibilities.

aviona's avatar

I remember my mom always used to get really upset when she’d see this (and probably still does). She’d say, “That is so terrible. How awful. Shoes are expensive.” Feeling sorry for the shoeless child.

Jeruba's avatar

My son did this with a pair of his Converse high-tops when he was in middle school. He came home somewhat shame-faced. It was a perfect example of kids’ not thinking ahead more than a minute. The guys were all trying to see who could do it first, and he won, and his prize was that he got to walk home barefoot and tell his mother that he’d lost his shoes.

kathleenmaher's avatar

I used to live in Yonkers, NY on a street where a pair of shoes decorated most traverse power lines. It wasn’t the safest place I’ve ever lived, but I never felt unsafe there either. The teenagers were always nice to me and my toddler son. There were many men around in the morning wearing watch caps and walking dogs bred for viciousness. Once a Great Dane escaped his leash and a guy ran up, scooped up my son—and me, more or less—and pushed us both inside an unlocked car until he got the dog leashed and muzzled.
To me, the shoes signified a neighborhood feeling. If they marked a gang members’ death, I didn’t know it. Volunteer fire members’ deaths (as frequent from drunk driving as fire fighting) were remembered with wreaths and black bunting above the firetruck garage.

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