Monday, January 22, 2007

The Sartorialist Almost Arrested in Antwerp!!!!

Prostitution is legal in Antwerp and I think pot is too but don’t cross the street against a red light or BIG TROUBLE!

A cop car stopped me today in Antwerp because I crossed the street against a “NO Walk” sign.

Well, I am a New Yorker, sorry but that is what we do.

In New York If no traffic is coming and you don’t cross the street people will think you may be hurt and will come to your aid.

This policeman stopped me not because i had created some type of traffic problem but merely because I had crossed the street against the red “right in front of my nose.”

He was so mad his hands were shaking while he looked at my ID. When he asked for my ID I gave him my drivers licenses but he wanted my passport. He really thought he had me when I couldn’t find it right away but when I found it he was pissed that he didn’t get to take me in to the station house.

He asked all kinds of questions like how long I have been in Antwerp and why I am here.
He was looking for the stamps on my passport and asked why the last one was from 2006. I told him I don’t know and that i came here on the train. “From New York by train?” he asked, “No from Paris” I said.
I was trying really hard not to laugh out loud.

“This is very bizarre, let this be a warning!!!”he said and he drove away.

That’s right, me and 50 Cent, we are some bad-ass lawbreakers in Antwerp!!!

Can I come back to New York now?


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  1. Dutch

    January 22, 2007 at 11:41 am


    I apologize for our neighbors to the South. They’re still a tad bit perturbed at not being part of the Netherlands;-) Glad to hear you’ve escaped the wrath of the Gendarme. Hopefully you had a good glass of Pils and some Frietjes.

  2. positive_negative

    January 22, 2007 at 11:46 am

    Hahahaha, that’s one great story for your memoir!

  3. Anonymous

    January 22, 2007 at 11:47 am

    That’s freakin hilarious! Come back to New York!

  4. Anonymous

    January 22, 2007 at 11:51 am

    Come Back!!! We miss your eye here. The pics from Europe are wonderful, but I’m jonesing to see some fashion-savvy, jaywalkers from the Big Apple.

  5. Jammie

    January 22, 2007 at 11:55 am

    I like the part about his hands shaking, very nice visual!

  6. kiarella

    January 22, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    Scott you can come to Genoa anytime, here we are very easy-going and there is no historical recollection of anyone being arrested for jaywalking! (or for leaving their passport in their hotel room).

  7. Anonymous

    January 22, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    Very funny! Glad you weren’t arrested!

  8. Anonymous

    January 22, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    ROTFL! Montreal is also famous (hmm, infamous) for jaywalking, too.

    Glad you didn’t become a jailbird.


  9. Anonymous

    January 22, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    But in Europe we all think jaywalking is something only crazy yanks outlaw, especially after this incident.

  10. Anonymous

    January 22, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    Well prostitution is not legal but tolerated
    and pot is legal 35 kms away in the Netherlands, but not in Belgium

    It happened to me too to be stopped in Antwerpen for jaywalking and nothing happened, just had a laugh after.

    By the way prostitutes are total fashion victims and some are quite classy too.
    They prefer Italian than Belgian or French.

  11. jkrnyc`

    January 22, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    LOL! Look out, world, for that bad-ass street fashion photographer. Get on home already!

  12. Alice Olive

    January 22, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    That’s hilarious! Go ahead, flout convention (and the law) – that’s personalising your style!!

  13. Brusselita

    January 22, 2007 at 1:29 pm

    Why don’t you come to Brussels instead? We’re a little bit more civilised further South.
    If crossing at red lights was penalised, I’d probably get death penalty.
    Please, try to love this country, it deserves it. Despite policemen.

  14. Anonymous

    January 22, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    Chin up, that must have been an anomaly! Usually, we Europeans are quite nice ones…

  15. Anonymous

    January 22, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    Jaywalking is a sin in Seattle, too. Got to be careful when you travel–you know the old saying, “When in Rome—-do all the Romans you can.”

  16. Anonymous

    January 22, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    I doubt anything exciting ever happens in Belgium … The cop was probably just trying to fill his day … the same thing happens in Greenwich, CT … the warden / traffic ppl shout at you if you cross without them telling you to!

  17. Philipp

    January 22, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    it could happen to you in atlanta as well:

    take care!

  18. Anonymous

    January 22, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    Aren’t you in Paris for the HC or did you stop off in Antwerp on the way? I guess you’ll be in Paris for the men’s AW08 after the HC week anyway.

  19. Anonymous

    January 22, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    Sorry to hear about your brush with the law for something so trivial. However, I must point out that what people do in New York is irrelevant. You weren’t in New York–you were in Antwerp! It pays, I think, to respect the traditions, customs, and laws of the country you’re visiting. Americans, especially, need to heed this message. Not only is it good manners, but it can help you avoid having involuntary personal interaction with law enforcement.

  20. Sam

    January 22, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    If it happens in LA you can actually get fined, I have friends who when visiting LA from SF got tickets for jay walking. Here in san francisco I have never heard of a cop taking the law so seriously, neither in England from whence I came.

  21. hoi polloi

    January 22, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    And the police state rolls on

  22. Anonymous

    January 22, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    Great story! Pot and prostitution aren’t legalized in Belgium though, you’re confused with the Netherlands. (Well actually, pot isn’t legal there as well, but that’s a complicated story :-)

  23. Anonymous

    January 22, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    There are many cities in Europe that are very strict with jaywalking. In Munich, you could get arrested for being intoxicated on a bicycle.

    Love your Blog, its my daily window to the outside world! Keep up the great work!

  24. FishrCutB8

    January 22, 2007 at 4:35 pm

    We had someone on our trip to Belarus who got stopped for the same thing. Only, Belarus is a bigger deal than Antwerp. We found the phrase in our phrasebook: “Is there a fine we can pay to make this go away?”

  25. Anonymous

    January 22, 2007 at 4:42 pm

    You should count yourself lucky. There was a story in the news a couple of weeks ago about a history professor from Britain who was attending a conference in Atlanta. An off-duty cop who was moonlighting as a security guard saw him crossing the street and decided to take him down. The cop kicked the unlucky prof’s legs from under him and pinned him to the ground until backup arrive. The prof then spend 8 hours in jail until a judge let him out.

  26. Anonymous

    January 22, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    WHOA! That is such a stark contrast from the city…

  27. Anonymous

    January 22, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    Unfortunately I know this story all too well. I am from Boston (where jay-walkers can be found at every street corner), however I recently returned from two-year long stint in Germany. This law is also enforced in Deutschland. Inpatients often prevailed over maintaining my reputation as a law abiding citizen…I just made sure the Polizei were not lurking around and, naturlich, that there were no young German children nearby to corrupt(otherwise I would be sure to get a tongue lashing from a local).


  28. andrea

    January 22, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    If I could take a train ride from NY to Antwerp I would’ve moved there. A pictorial of jail wear may be interesting but I really enjoy checking out what people are wearing in NY and other travels. I’m in design school in LA now, still dreaming of NY and Europe. Thanks for the great photos and for the great advices last year.

  29. Anonymous

    January 22, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    people from antwerp are not exactly known for their sense of humor… very dour folk.

  30. Sat-Chit-Ananda

    January 22, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    And I thought it was only in Singapore that you could get arrested for jaywalking.

    Now that I’ve relocated to Australia, I cannot resist the opportunity to jaywalk every chance I get.

    You and your law-breaking ways will feel right at home Down Under, Scott!

  31. _nm**

    January 22, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    i’m parisean but live in brussels, and the fine for crossing at a red light is …. 75 euros!!!
    i got out of it four times, but now i make sure there are no policemen around

  32. Anonymous

    January 22, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    We…dutch people mock belgium peeps allllll the time.

  33. Sara

    January 22, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    Oh wow, what a freak! I grew up in NY, and now live in LA-and it is very stange at the corners here..people standing around waiting for the light…wierdos./.

  34. Anonymous

    January 22, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    Damn-this is is hilarious as it’s embarassing!
    I can’t believe this-I’ve been living in Antwerp for more than 10 years, and this has never happened to me nor anyone else I know of! And then to you of all people as a one time visitor ; )
    never mind, I’m glad you finally made it to Antwerp. Hope you’ ll forget about the dumb cop with too much time on his hands once you’ve been around the Nationalestraat and Lombardenvest!

  35. Anonymous

    January 22, 2007 at 5:28 pm


    Be sure to watch for any officers before you go against the light while in San Francisco (or Palo Alto). Although a lot of folks walk against the light the officers may stop you and give a citation because there are many pedestrian fatalities in SF and there’s increased enforcement whenever there’s a bunch of accidents.

    BTW I just picked up my Charvet shirts that were ordered made-to-measure after the event. They were ready back in December but I didn’t have a chance to get back to the store. I had the left sleeve cuff made wider to accommodate my watch at no extra charge. (I was the guy that stopped to chat with you on the street after the event.)

    Cheers and congrats on all the well-deserved success! Love the video interviews. I’m in love with Jordyn Bell – she’s so refreshing, sweet, charming and smart!

  36. Anonymous

    January 22, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    that’s just hilarious….

    well, i lived in antwerp for a while, and i didn’t particularly like it. so, really, i don’t want to defend the city, but never did anything alike happen to me there, and i’m a regular jaywalker…. i don’t have an idea what the cop’s problem was! maybe he recognized you as the “bad bad sartorialist who suggests that men should wear leggings”… ohoh, shocking!

    btw: your blog is getting better every day. loving it. thank you!

    all the best from berlin, where you can happily jaywalk your way around town…

  37. marc

    January 22, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    to Dutch

    Dont be a hater man, that smug attitude just looks so bad. There are dumb cops in every nation.

    I mean I’ve had the bizarre experience of seeing sometimes two arrests on the streets every weekend I have been in Holland, in Amsterdamn, Eindhoven and Utrecht! I don’t know but I come from from South Africa and NEVER saw that happen.

    Dont judge and dont be so smug!

    an ex-antwerpenaar

  38. quigley

    January 22, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    …too bad you couldn’t have gotten a shot of him.

  39. Anonymous

    January 22, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    sorry ’bout the antwerp coppers…that one guy is not an exception i must say
    besides that: welcome to my town!
    how long are you stayin? and what are your plans?

  40. Jason Hahn

    January 22, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    Since you were already on speaking terms, you should have asked him to pose for a picture for this blog. Probably more than his hands would have been shaking then!

  41. Anonymous

    January 22, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    I am very sad that YOU DID NOT TAKE THE COP’S PHOTO !!!

  42. Anonymous

    January 22, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    Sooooo funny!!!!!! Hahahahahahahahaaha come back to new york Sart!!!!!! NY rule!!! thanks for the advice!


  43. Anonymous

    January 22, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    Next time you jaywalk, try doing it while smoking dope with a couple of prostituts. thats the secret to getting away with jaywalking in Antwerp.

  44. Trenditional-AAAC

    January 22, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    Is the the J train wanting to go to Brooklyn and I ended up in Antwerp. =)

  45. Anonymous

    January 22, 2007 at 8:29 pm

    hey, you should really live on the edge, and try littering in Singapore!

  46. Scoutj

    January 22, 2007 at 10:08 pm

    Too funny!

  47. Anonymous

    January 22, 2007 at 10:23 pm

    My friend and I crossed the road in the same manner when in Germany several years ago and some one rolled down their car window and shouted “Anarchists!” at us.

  48. D. Kay

    January 22, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    Good job man. Your street cred has been earned.

  49. Anonymous

    January 22, 2007 at 11:20 pm

    I also am looking forward to your daily NYC street posts again

  50. deola

    January 23, 2007 at 3:28 am

    what screwed up priorities…that’s ridiculous. the police obviously have nothing more to do now that all the vice is legalised

  51. Anonymous

    January 23, 2007 at 5:50 am

    I am really sorry for what happen to you. I am not Belgium but I live in BXL and I cross the streets with the red lights too and so far, may be I was lucky, no weirdo stop me. Don’t take it personal … may be the guy was in a bad day!!! Once more I congratulate you for your fantastic blog! I love it.

  52. Anonymous

    January 23, 2007 at 6:25 am

    Scott go to the Netherlands…they cross wit hred light on when there is no traffic….just be carful of the bikes!

  53. Anonymous

    January 23, 2007 at 6:32 am

    the cops in antwerp really have nothing better to do and they are on a huge ego trip. also if you ride a bike without working lights the bike patrol hunts you down and acts the same way. just kill them with kindness! and as a new yorker living in antwerp now, take me back with you!!!

  54. Anonymous

    January 23, 2007 at 6:55 am

    Smoking pot is not legal in Belgium. It is in the Netherlands. Anywa, Antwerp ist a fantastic city.

  55. caroline

    January 23, 2007 at 7:11 am

    Believe me this is just one guy, the rest of belgium loves you (well me at least).
    Oh, and dutch, if there’s one thing that belgians don’t want, it’s to be a part of Holland.

  56. Anonymous

    January 23, 2007 at 7:17 am

    shit, im from Antwerp, its hilarious but still i so apologise ! our town is a nice town – normally.

  57. Sara

    January 23, 2007 at 8:18 am

    I agree! I cant wait until red lights become green ones! So impatient? Maybe yes…but, what?

  58. Anonymous

    January 23, 2007 at 8:36 am

    It’s a good thing he didn’t get a look at your list of “A” Felonies!

  59. zara

    January 23, 2007 at 9:10 am

    oh my, who would have thought that such passionate chocolate and fashion lovers (well, and let’s not forget the beer and french fries!) would be so stern about traffic. lol. he sure must be eating too little of all the good stuff, you know

  60. Anonymous

    January 23, 2007 at 9:49 am


    I can’t believe you were so close to Brussels…
    If I have known before I would have run through the streets of Antwerp to find you ;-)
    I also would like to apologize for our flemish compatriots who are very sensitive about everyone who isn’t from their community…Very sad…
    Keep up the amazing work !
    Amélie from Brussels

  61. Anonymous

    January 23, 2007 at 9:54 am


    He was probably ticked off that you were so smartly dressed and he was in a dorky uniform.

    I saw a cop go ballistic in Los Angeles on a man who jaywalked. The guy was with his family, site-seeing on Hollywood Boulevard and was engrossed in something and crossed the street without looking at the light. The cop jumped out of the car and had his hand on his gun! Thank God there were lots of onlookers to see this nonsense.

    There are idiot police people everywhere.

    Stay out of jail, dude!

  62. liza

    January 23, 2007 at 10:57 am

    From my limited experience driving in Los Angeles it seems that people don’t jaywalk there either. It makes driving there a very wierd experience for this New Yorker. The timing is all off.

    Glad you didn’t end up in the pokey.

  63. Anonymous

    January 23, 2007 at 11:04 am

    Unfortunately, the Belgian police is not that easy. I adore Belgium but it is a bit of a police state. However, Antwerp is a real good place to photograph people as the fashion is definitely a lot like the Belgian designers. Also the food should be good. Have eel in green and frites (French fries).

  64. Anonymous

    January 23, 2007 at 11:15 am

    oh, well mr «I’m a New Yorker», go figure. it’s not just NYPD cops who get to behave like arrogant pricks you know. and it’s not like being from NYC gives you any kind of special entitlement, or anything. take it easy

  65. Anonymous

    January 23, 2007 at 11:43 am

    In a way, you missed the opportunity of doing a feature on Antwerp prison style.
    Just joking!
    We need you alive and well.

  66. Anonymous

    January 23, 2007 at 11:50 am

    the idea of actually being arrested (almost) for jaywalking is quite humourous.
    i’m sorry that had to happen to you though.
    perhaps the old fart was just bored.

  67. Anonymous

    January 23, 2007 at 11:59 am

    i got a ticket for crossing against the red, in a crosswalk, in california! it cost $76US! it was about 9pm on a wednesday night, a very quiet evening, and the cop tried to tell me it was going to go on my driving record as “running a red light” since i didn’t only jay-walk, i crossed in the crosswalk while the light was red. i went to the law library and argued that charge, but i still had to pay $76. ridiculous!

  68. Anonymous

    January 23, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    oh this is so funny because i am an american, new yorker, just in antwerp for work as well (fashion-related) ANYWAY, i did the same thing as you on several occasions thinking that EVERYONE ELSE must have been either crazy or insane NOT to cross the street because, while there were red light “don’t walk” signs, there was NO traffic in sight! it wasn’t even like i had to rush across the street in order to not get hit–i could have tiptoed and still made it in time. it was surreal to me how everyone just stands there and waits and waits and waits until the change of light. almost scary!

  69. Anonymous

    January 23, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    When in Rome. . . . . Jaywalking is frowned on in Tokyo too–so don’t do it. If one comes to New York from Amsterdam and lights up a joint in a coffee shop, should he expect to be subject to the laws of New York or those of Amsterdam? If a French woman comes to L.A. and lights her cigarette in a bar is it ok because she’s from France? I agree that your story is amusing, but don’t cast the police officer as a villainous buffoon–his city, their laws….

  70. Luciana Malta

    January 23, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    hurry, please!!! back to nyc!!!


    by the way, what do ya think about spending some days in brazil?!? here, we are specialized on doing wrong – or not – things… absolutely out-of-law!!!


    come, sart, come, come!!! we have sartorialist peoples, too, and, be sure, more funny ones!!!

    the invitation is done!!!

  71. The Sartorialist

    January 23, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    I just want to make clear that I’m not making fun of the policeman for doing his job.

    I think it is great that people here obey the laws.

    What I thought was funny was how upset he was about the whole thing. He was soooo pissed.

    Everyone here has been very nice and i can’t wait to come back

    The men’s shows in paris don’t start until the 25th or 26th so I am not missing anything except Couture which is not so big especially considering I will be back soon for women’s RTW

    Thank you all for your responses
    It gets kinda lone traveling for so long by myself but I never feel completely alone because i feel like i am taking you with me on these journey’s and you guys are great travel companions!

  72. barbara

    January 23, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    hm, although i have been guilty of the same crime numerous times and i am far from a goody two shoes i now look at it in a different light. now that my son is almost 4 and becoming very aware of traffic i get annoyed with people jaywalking while i’m standing there trying to teach him that he should wait until the “man turns green”….so now i try not to do it when i see other parents waiting at lights with their own kids.

  73. Anonymous

    January 23, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    I hate to beat a dead horse but why would you (or a foreign visitor) need to carry a passport around? I don’t get it? Would the Antwerp policeman really arrest you if you didn’t have your passport with you?

  74. Anonymous

    January 23, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    “told him I don’t know and that i came here on the train. “From New York by train?” he asked, “No from Paris” I said.
    I was trying really hard not to laugh out loud. ”

    FUNNY! I would have laugh…and probably made things worse.

    The guy was doing his job. Maybe mentioning your origin as excuse is not a good idea…Yeah! the political climate for Americans is pretty much of NO tolerance out of the country….I guess then is where international perception comes into play. The perception of USA nationals having privileges and being spoiled and unconscious, no mater weather this is a fact or not…so hopefully if people get more responsible with the right to vote in the presidential elections, this type of perceptions will fade away.

  75. Anonymous

    January 23, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    HEY!! im a swedish girl, use to live in Belgium..AND the cops are completely crazy over there!!!!
    I got some horrible souvenirs….

  76. Anonymous

    January 23, 2007 at 6:18 pm

    Yeah, even in Belgium freedom is not a given. But when your plane lands at JFK, I’ll bet she’ll gave you a big welcome home kiss! (Freedom, that is…)What a country!

  77. tyr

    January 24, 2007 at 7:06 am

    welcome 2 belgium. very nice 2 have u here. sorry ’bout our coppers. most of these stories R really ’bout them not having anything 2 do. so happy 2 hear they didn’t turn u into a jailbird. hope u’ve met some nice belgians in the mean time … trust me they exist 2

  78. Daniel B

    January 24, 2007 at 9:49 am

    Omg, Thanks ALOT for giving me a great laugh at work.

  79. Anonymous

    January 25, 2007 at 4:25 am

    yeah the flem, esp. the goverment flem take themselves reaaaaaal serious.

  80. Anonymous

    January 25, 2007 at 11:51 am

    Yea, typical American!! Great. We don’t cross street when the red light is on. Just because that’s how you do in your city, doesn’t mean you can do it anywhere.

  81. Anonymous

    January 25, 2007 at 10:29 pm

    typical american, go to other countries and ‘teach’ people to play by their rules…

  82. Fearlessly Female

    January 26, 2007 at 9:19 pm

    You bad bad boy, you.

  83. hilde

    January 27, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    haha, that reminds of when I saw some football hooligans walking the streets of Berlin, shouting, drinking, throwing and kicking bottles around them, and this one man walks against red light, and another goes “what are you doing? kids are watching!”.

  84. gusi

    January 29, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    im late but i just wanna say..if u were to get arrested… u got bail money all the way in panama!

    luv ur blog!


  85. Anonymous

    January 30, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    No picture of the cop? I bet he had some off-white mayonnaise stains on him.

  86. Anonymous

    February 4, 2007 at 2:12 am

    i’m sorry to hear that. alot of the european countries are really big on jaywalking.

    here in germany – if one jaywalks and an accident happened between the jaywalker and a motorist(s) – the jaywalker will have to pay for ALL the damages and fees. if one gets caught jaywalking, the polizei can give the jaywalker a ticket.

  87. Anonymous

    May 29, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    when I’m in antwerp I also cross streets when the lights are red, unless there are policemen watching me. And i’m hardly ever the only one doing that. So the rule should is: “Don’t cross streets when the lights are red and there’s police watching”

    There’s even a joke about it in belgium: “how do you know whether someone is staying illegally in belgium? He waits untill the light turns green to cross the street.” (because they would be scared to get arrested and be locked up untill they have to leave the country unless they get permission to stay)

    So next time you’re in my doesn’t-make-any-sense-country check whether there are any police before crossing the streets while the lights are red and don’t forget to pay me a visit

  88. Shayna

    August 28, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    this reminds me when my girlfriends and i went to vegas for a bachelorette party…in vegas anything goes, except squeezing an extra girl in the back of a cab…now THAT is off limits!!! haha the things that make some cities tick…

  89. Sandra

    December 12, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    LOL, I am from Belgium, been to antwerp often and I can tell you that is not common. When there is no uncoming traffic I also cross the street and so do most Belgians. he was either having a bad day or its the principle of the matter. if its the last then really it doesn't matter if you were from New York or not he would have blown up at anybody

  90. Also Dutch

    January 4, 2010 at 8:21 am

    Funny that this happened to you, but in that part of Europe not exceptional, it's a completely normal thing in both Belgium and the Netherlands.
    I myself once got fined for running a red light at 4:30 in the morning.
    But hey, we don't have guns. So I'd pick Antwerp over NYC any day of the week.

  91. Doug

    May 6, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    Had the same experience in Winnipeg long ago, but managed to talk my way out of it. Some cities take their odd rules very seriously.

  92. Impartial

    May 4, 2013 at 12:32 am

    It’s OK in the Wild West so it must be accepted in the civilized world too, eh?

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