This week's Critical Shopper, Jon Caramanica finally gets, well, critical, and who wouldn't after a visit to the new Crocs flagship in SoHo? His visit brings up warm memories of the building's previous tenant, the humble barbecue restaurant Tennessee Mountain, and he deems both occupants out of place in SoHo -the restaurant for being lowbrow in an increasingly chi-chi neighborhood, and Crocs for being.... Crocs. There is, though, one major difference here: Tennessee Mountain was enjoyable and relatively cheap but offered a valuable service. Mmmm, curly fries. Crocs is also cheap but... ugh Crocs!
After recounting the store's many transgressions against feet and footwear, Jon comes to the concluson that more than any other store in SoHo, Crocs exists purely for tourists, presumably because no self respecting, SoHo-shopping New Yorker would be caught dead wearing those things.
As if to emphasize the point, the windows display a handful of nation-themed Crocs: England, Italia, Korea, Deutschland ($39.99), souvenirs of places you don’t even have to go to, or may already be from.
It's an astute observation, and one that could be applied to many stores in Manhattan, though most of those are safely placed in designated tourist-only zones like Times Square (which is where this Crocs store should be). Ultimately, Caramanica, possibly addled by the pungent Croslite aroma wafting through the store, puts his feet in a pair of the clogs. It's a cautionary tale that suggests what it must be like the first time someone uses heroin. Stay out of that place.Critical Shopper: Standing Proudly, in Foam Shoes By Jon Caramanica (NYTimes)
Crocs 143 Spring St at Wooster Street, SoHo