By Tim Binnall
A median at an intersection in a small Massachusetts town has become the unexpected site of a strange mystery known to residents as simply 'shoe island.' The weirdness reportedly began sometime last year when drivers in the community of Granby noticed that someone had deposited a pair of old shoes on a patch of concrete separating a pair of prominent roads in the town. Soon more discarded footwear began appearing at the spot until it blossomed into a full blown phenomenon this summer.
A town worker tasked with keeping the roads clean explained that freshly-discarded footwear appears on the median almost as soon as it gets cleared and expressed bewilderment by the seemingly unending wave of shoes. "All I know is we have to pick up a number of shoes," David Desrosiers said, "sometimes a single shoe, sometimes a pair, no rhyme or reason." The footwear itself does indeed run the gamut of styles from ballet flats to hiking boots, leading him to speculate that perhaps people leaving shoes at the site is just "a trendy thing to do in the town."
To that end, word of the odd mystery has spread throughout Granby to the point that their police chief Alan Wishart observed "when you say 'shoe island,' people know what you're talking about." He theorized that chatter about the mystery on social media over the last few months may explain why the number of shoes being deposited at the site has recently increased considerably. Nonetheless, Wishart conceded that he has no idea who is leaving the shoes on the median nor why.
For their part, most residents who live near 'shoe island' largely see it as an benign curiosity. One person called it "kinda weird" and wondered "why would you put shoes out there?" Others don't find the mystery very amusing at all with one neighbor grousing "I think someone should look into it and clean it up." Where it appears that everyone agrees is that townspeople and officials all said that they'd rather see the shoes given to charity rather than dumped on the side of the road. We suspect that goes double for Desrosiers, who is the one who has to keep removing the discarded footwear.