Living museum of youth cultures
I guess the bigger a city becomes the harder the kids are forced to develop some kind of group identity. São Paulo with it’s 18 million inhabitants seems to be a pretty good example. The kids seem to be much more devoted to individual youth cultures than in most European cities. This is pretty much obvious on the streets or on the subway but the prime spot to witness this is the rock-gallery in downtown. It is a multiple story shopping gallery from the 70ties (or so) that neatly sorts youth cultures per floor:
In the basement you have shops that carter to afro /reggae clientele, the ground floor is all about hip-hop/streatwear, the 1st floor is suddenly all gothic/dark metal the 2nd floor is alternative (with the humming of tattoo needles echoing throughout the space) while the 3rd floor caters to yet some other variant of rock music (and for some reason i cant figure out the 4th floor is all occupied by silk screen printing shops).
Every floor covers all your youth cultural needs: there are clothing stores, shoe stores, accessories stores and record stores (plus tattoo & piercing parlors where the culture requires it) all of them exist at least in threefold and all are selling the same stuff. It is quite an experience to climb the stairs from one level to the next and travel through these different universes of style. As the whole thing has a very 90s feeling it really feels like a living museum of youth cultures. The only thing they should change is to replace the labels on the buttons in the elevator. instead of having ‘0’, ‘1’, ‘2’ …. they should have signs saying ‘hip-hop’, ‘gothic’, ‘alternative’.
One little gem from one of the shops on the ground floor is this package of nike wristbands with the word original written in clumsy handwriting by the owner. Apparently the shop is selling so much fake stuff that the fact that these are indeed originals has to be communicated to the clients.