"_____ shoes and a big straw hat" -- what the hell is Lou Reed saying?

Man, those hamsters are hungry. Good thing you put the whole question in your headers.

It’s “P.R. shoes.” P.R. as in Puerto Rican, not public relations–he means shoes with pointy toes, also known as PRFCs: Puerto Rican Fence Climbers.

The OP got swallered, eh?

The line referenced is from the Velvet Underground “Waiting for the Man,” which is about going up to Harlem (“Lexington One Two Five” meaning the corner of 125th Street and Lextington Avenue) to buy heroin.

The Man, the dealer, is “All dressed in black/P.R. shoes and a big straw hat”…wearing the height of Harlem smack dealer style circa 1968.

“P.R. shoes” are the type of zapatos associated with hip uptown Puerto Ricans at that time: shiny leather with pointed toes.

Dang, I forgot to check after starting the thread that the OP was actually there! But yeah, you guys answered my my question. Thanks.

BTW, while I’m bumping the thread, I may as well ask, why is the song called “I’m Waiting For the Man” when the lyrics go “I’m waiting for my man?” “My man” fits in with the drug dealer theme, but “the man” reminds me more of the guy that’s keepin’ you down.