There were still basketball players at the famous West 4th Street courts on Monday, May 18 – except this time, they were wearing suits and in the NBA.
To celebrate the launch of their Fall 2009 collaboration, JCPenney (who plans to open at the Manhattan Mall this year) and suitmaker JOE Joseph Abboud obtained permission to close the courts to the public – a decidedly controversial move – to hold a cocktail party. Attendees included a rather unusual mix of athletes and fashionistas: basketball legends Allan Houston and Cal Ramsey, rising star NBA draft pick Blake Griffin, Bobby Simmons of the New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks head coach Herb Williams and several team members, stylist Michael Angelo, and Jones Apparel retail executives.
And you couldn’t miss the collection of male models donning various JOE Joseph Abboud ensembles, stationed around the court literally to stand there and look pretty.
Though interesting sheets of aluminum were placed around the fence to create a sense of “privacy,” a few sections were left uncovered, drawing a crowd of curious pedestrians. Many had stopped when they realized they weren’t hearing the usual shouts of excitement that accompany the lively games at the court. Several of the onlookers had probably planned to play in or watch one of those games that night; something tells me that if it were not for the presence of professional basketball stars at the event, they would have been quite disappointed. Once the not-so-average-JOEs cleared out, though, it was back to normal – and I doubt you’ll be seeing suits at that court anytime soon.