To celebrate the opening of its new stand-alone store at 21 Mercer Street, Nike threw a raucous block party on Mercer Street on Thursday, Aug. 21. The sportswear brand closed off the entire block between Grand and Howard streets and–much to the frustration of the block’s residents–installed giant stadium screens, a clock that counted down the opening of doors at 9:21 p.m., and stadium food carts to serve corn dogs, cotton candy and French fries to the guests.
And of course Nike invited some of its old friends, including tennis stars Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, to help open the doors.
Watching the street dancers that bounced around on a rubber mat to DJ Mark Ronson‘s tunes was director Spike Lee, who hung back in the corner dancing with daughter Satchel and son Jackson. And while he was reluctant to talk to Daily Transom, he did say that he was excited to meet Mr. Federer for the first time and was hoping to introduce his daughter to Ms. Williams. (He said he will be at the U.S. Open matches almost every day this year.)
Soon enough, Mr. Lee’s presence was requested by the Nike organizers, as it turned out he was part of the opening ceremony. After a brief performance by a marching band, Mr. Lee walked up the store’s steps in front of a large crowd with Mr. Federer to do the official opening of the doors.
Mr. Lee introduced Mr. Federer to the crowd as "the world’s greatest tennis player." To which the tennis player awkwardly responded, "I’m Roger Federer, that’s me." And when Mr. Lee screamed "Is Brooklyn in da house?" and the crowd roared, Mr. Federer mostly looked scared and wore a nervous smile.
Finally as the doors were opened. Daily Transom found Ms. Williams, who was dressed in black, with a matching yellow belt and shoes.
"There has been no relaxing for me, I’ve been playing every day, literally," she said about getting ready for the U.S. Open. But at least she has something to look forward to after the next couple of weeks.
"Fashion Week is right after the tournament so I look forward to going there, I love it," said Ms. Williams. "I’ll have two weeks off so it is definitely like a vacation for me."
Ms. Sharapova, who will be sitting out the U.S. Open due to an ongoing shoulder injury, stopped by briefly. Will she be cheering on her tennis peers from the stands?
"No, no, definitely not," she said. "I’m just here to work with my brands and to do things that I already had planned to do for a couple of days, and then I’m going back."
So really, you won’t be watching the tournament at all, Ms. Sharapova?
"No, I won’t. Unless I’m working out and it happens to be on TV, I might catch it, but I don’t plan to watch it. I have so many things going on in my life, and this is a good time for me to work on all of the projects I’m working on."
We wondered what the Russian tennis beauty thought about the U.S. Open draws that took place just yesterday.
"I didn’t even know they came out!" she said, laughing. "To be honest, the day I got injured was the day that I was like, I’m not even sure who’s playing."
Um, O.K. Does that mean we won’t see you at Fashion Week, either?
"I might go to Peter Som. I love to see the shows and check out what the designers are thinking and what they get inspired by," said Ms. Sharapova. "Vera Wang is also one of my favorites."