I've heard in the past that shoes hanging from a powerline means that you can buy drugs in the area. But according to this article
, in which a utility worker is interviewed, there are even more secret codes:
"The tennis shoes hanging up there mark drug areas," the worker says. "It's a sign to those who are 'in the know' that drugs are available for sale in that neighborhood." He goes on to explain the alleged meaning of yoyos and deflated helium balloons. "That meaning is a lot darker," he says. "Yoyos mean that sex is for sale in the area, and if a balloon is tangled in with the yoyos, that means both sex and drugs are for sale." He explains that the color of the yoyo indicates the ethnicity of the person offering sex.
So what are you supposed to do if you see one of these codes? Go up to the nearest person and say, 'Hey, I saw the yoyo, if you know what I mean?' Maybe objects hanging from power lines simply mean that kids have thrown things up there to be obnoxious.
I grew up in the Bronx in the 60's and 70's. There were sneakers hanging over powerlines back then too and I never heard anything about it being a "secret signal" of ANY kind. Kids throw things over wires for the same reason dogs lick their private parts--because they can.
Hey, Alex, did you ever decide on what kind of contest you want to have?
I've always wondered about this. I guess the world will never know:
I don't think linemen for the county conduct house-to-house drug and prostitution surveys, do they?
This guy's just repeating an urban legend the same way anyone else might.
How the police (or anybody else) could enforce such ordinances, and whether or not they're interested in enforcing them, are other questions.
... Hey, maybe that's the real secret code-- if there are no shoes on the power lines, you can buy drugs; if there are no yo-yos, you can buy sex; and if there are no shoes, yo-yos, or balloons on the line, you can buy drugs or sex. Now that you know the truth, you can see just how rampant these problems are!
Santeria is a type of religion that actually contains elements of 'voodoo'(spells) & Christianity that orginated in in Africa. It's practiced by certain African and Hispanic immigrant groups living in the greater NYC area, but especially in areas of Harlem, the Bronx, and the Lower East Side, where these ethnic groups are most prevelant. I live on the LES in NYC and can see sneakers dangling as I write, and have seen them for years.
LOTS of locals like to say that the sneakers have been used in spells by the Santeria priest/priestess. I imagine that the intent of the so-called spell could be anything from wanting a child or a person to 'aim high, or succeed' or wanting a person to 'trip up' or to fail.
I'm not saying that I believe this or not. I have just heard that "it's a Santeria thing" many many times over the years. Just thought it was an interesting perspective to add.
I'm serious. Going for a drive yesterday someone had put two pieces of what looked like cheese on the ends of a string and chucked it up there. It was hanging off those little metal step things that guys climb up to fix the stuff at the top of the pole.
But accepting that would require creating a mental space that allows for the possibility that some things in the world just don't really mean much of anything--and obviously, it's a slippery slope from there to some completely chaotic, absolutely relativistic world where 1+1=3 and the pope is secretly a satanist.
When I was much younger (late eighties/early nineties) it was not uncommon to see a worn out bicycle tyre thrown over a lamp-post. It didn't mean anything other than somebody liked throwing old tyres around....
Surprised no one is hanging up signs that say "DRUGS 4 SALE & CRACK WHORE ON DUTY, RING the DOOR IF YOU WANT SOME BOOTY!" LOL.
What do you suppose is for sale here?
But I'm getting off topic. (ray bradbury)
However, I do know for a fact that in some cases it is used to mark gang turf and drug areas...
It's not always like that, and it's not the same in all places...
but in Evansville, there was a gang on the north side that wore green colors, and sold marijuana (green), and when they would push into newer neighborhoods they would throw up green tennis shoes to mark that they were pushing dope into that neighborhood, kind of marking it...
and down here
I have noticed that i keep seeing a pair of shoes and it will get cut down, and another pair goes up, and its not always in the exact same spot, there will be a pair up, and then when it gets cut down, or the cops start getting heavy in that area, one block south or north the shoes will be hanging, and then when the cops start cruising that street more, a pair of shoes will show up a couple streets back towards where they were before
and talked to a guy who sold drugs who said that he would move from block to block sort of playing run around with police
so im thinking maybe the shoes were similar to that and had to do with drugs or prostitution because both are very present in that area