Vlogger mayhem ‘worse than Supreme,’ locals say

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | To residents’ ongoing chagrin, Little Italy and Soho are regularly besieged by throngs of people filling the sidewalks for product launches. But the crowds, mayhem and trash caused by this past weekend’s three-day pop-up shop event for a popular video blogger’s clothing line have pushed locals — as well as Community Board 2’s chairperson — over the edge.

Something has got to be done, they say.

Crowds of young fans of Internet personality Logan Paul and his clothing line completely blocked the sidewalk on Kenmare St. at Cleveland Place in front of the Storefront for Art and Architecture. Photos by Lora Tenenbaum

From Friday to Sunday, the storefront at 201 Mulberry St. was transformed into a boutique for vlogger Logan Paul’s Maverick apparel. Thousands of young fans descended on the neighborhood each day, waiting up to four hours or more to buy a T-shirt or tank top emblazoned with the buff and floppy-haired online star’s signature bird-of-prey logo.

The lines wrapped around Mulberry and Spring Sts., Kenmare Place and Cleveland Place. The pop-up shop was open Friday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. On at least one day, according to a video, Paul appeared outside the place, ripped off his T-shirt and flung it into the frenzied crowd.

On Friday, a distraught Georgette Fleischer, president of the Friends of Petrosino Square, fired off a letter to C.B. 2 and the Fifth Police Precinct, begging for help.

“The tweens are shrieking in great waves,” she lamented. “The entire traffic lane on the east side of Cleveland Place has been given over as a pedestrian walkway because there is no room to walk on the sidewalk, which is packed seven or eight or more deep. When I came home earlier, promoters were running down Cleveland Place in the center traffic lane filming the delirious tweens, who pay $32 for a little tank top and who were being led by the promoters to shout en masse, ‘Logan! Logan! Logan!’ It is scheduled to go on for three consecutive days. How has this been allowed to happen? Will it take a death or maiming to stop this?”

Soho activist Lora Tenenbaum e-mailed back to Fleischer: “There are multiple lines, probably a half mile of excited youngsters and not-so-happy parents taking up Little Italy’s sidewalks and streets…Spring to Kenmare, Mott to Cleveland. I think most of the Fifth Precinct was deployed to control the crowd — on little if no notice.”

The vlogger’s fans left piles of garbage in their wake, like this one on Kenmare St.

On Monday, Fleischer again e-mailed C.B. 2 and the Fifth Police Precinct, plus this time added in Councilmember Margaret Chin’s Office.

“Something needs to be done to make sure we never have a repeat of anything like what happened over the past three days, when the building owner of 201 Mulberry rented out his premises so promoters of YouTuber Logan Paul could invade our neighborhood with tens of thousands of shrieking tweens,” Fleischer fumed.

“This was beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. I was trapped in my building and could not get out. I had a panic attack when I came downstairs and saw tightly packed hordes pressed against the plate-glass door into my apartment building so that it was impossible for me to exit.

“Our neighborhood is trashed beyond anything I have ever seen in my life,” she said, adding, “There are hundreds of metal police barricades all over, as if we are in a war zone.”

Fleischer said, however, when she spoke to a police captain at the scene, he told her, “ ‘People have a right to open a pop-up store.’ … They claimed there was no need for licensing or a permit of any kind,” the activist said, incredulously, “even if it brought tens of thousands of people and created dangers to the public. It must have cost well into six figures for a publicly paid-for security detail courtesy of N.Y.P.D. so YouTuber Logan Paul and his promoters could rake in $32 for each tank top, of which they sold tens of thousands.”

Terri Cude, chairperson of C.B. 2, agreed that the situation with frequent product “drops” and these sort of celebrity-driven events has gotten out of control. Cude said, after the Logan Paul fiasco, the board promptly wrote to Citywide Event Coordination and Management and its umbrella city agency, the Street Activities Permit Office.

“We’ve requested an immediate moratorium on all applications for events at 201 Mulberry St.,” she said, though noting that the Logan Paul event actually wasn’t even an application, as far as the community board can tell.

Logan Paul wearing one of his Maverick Apparel hoodies.

C.B. 2 is also requesting a multiagency meeting with the city to figure out a better strategy to control these type of events.

“You just ran an excellent article on Supreme,” Cude told The Villager, referring to “Locals supremely irked by streetwear Co.’s events” (news article, July 6), which described the crowds around that company’s Lafayette St. location, plus the store’s unauthorized commandeering of local public parks for events.

“Your article on Supreme said it all. And this one — even worse,” she said of the Paul pandemonium. “This was the same, it just had more people because it had a celebrity — or whatever you call him, Logan Paul,” she quipped, adding, “I don’t know who he is, but then I’m not a 13-year-old girl. Maybe he’s like the David Cassidy of his era.

“The letter that we sent to C.E.C.M. and SAPO has a link to a video and you can hear the screaming,” she said. “There were stories of people coming in from Canada and West Virginia.

“There are pop-ups and they’re happening a lot,” Cude continued. “This is increasing in both frequency and the detrimental effects on our community. This has become a business model where the line outside the store is a way of building excitement for the retailer. But we live here — we should be able to step out on the street. And when there are celebrities, the screaming and jostling, it becomes dangerous.”

In some cases, such is the extent of people’s obsession with the product drops that even when they are canceled, the fans stubbornly persist in camping out. This happened just last week when Louis Vuitton scrapped an event with Supreme planned for a space at Bond St. and Bowery.

“The people were told from Monday to Friday that it was canceled,” Cude noted. “It wasn’t a lot of people, but some were camped out overnight on chairs” on Prince St. near the actual Vuitton store. “I went into LV and said, ‘Did you tell them?’ They said, ‘Yes. They won’t believe us.’ ”

Other brands that host product drops in the area that often draw crowds include Bathing Ape (BAPE), Adidas, Nike, Foot Locker, Uniqlo and Kith, to name a few. Cude said Adidas and Nike have thankfully moved toward a lottery system of allocating spots on the waiting line, which helps curb the craziness.

She said the response of police is that these kind of pop-up events are legal as long as the crowds don’t block the entire sidewalk, allowing people to still pass by.

“This thing, they blocked the whole sidewalk,” she said.

At this point, Cude wants to talk to Councilmember Chin about creating some new legislation that will control these sort of events — legislation with real penalties.

“More than ticketing,” Cude said, “shut ’em down.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *