14th Street Waiting Line Begins

December 7, 2007

I”ve arrived in line as #5. The first person in line arrived from the Bronx at 2 a.m. after he says he received an e-mail from Apple promising that laptops would be given away to the first 10 in line. The next three men are also here because they heard a radio DJ say there would be merchandise give-aways. The two persons behind me arrived believing the store opened at 6 a.m. and also heard the DJ remark. By 6:15 a.m. there were 16 persons in line, and by 8 a.m. there were 22–the two behind me among them. The line has grown to 55 at 11:30 a.m. under cloudy skies. At 12:30 an Apple staffer came by to explain the giveaway to the 62 in-line: visitors will be given a T-shirt and poster, and upon opening the  poster cap they will learn if they’re a winner, with the prize awarded instantly ($10 iTunes Gift Card, iPod shuffle, iPod touch, Macbook). Prizes are entirely random over the entire evening. Apparently no one left the line after the announcement, but many were disappointed. CNBC is doing live video without a reporter, as part of a story on upcoming new products, success of the retail stores and the rise in Apple’s stock price (up $14.30 this week). The line is at about 400 at 3:15 p.m. Snow flurries started at 4 p.m., with the line snaking back-and-forth all the way to the end of the block. Maybe 750 in line? Now at 5:11 p.m. the snow has stopped and the line continues to grow around the corner onto 9th Ave. T-shirts and posters have been placed out. Scores of curious line the sidewalks to watch the spectacle.

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Max December 7, 2007 at 0443

Do you think if I get there at 4:30-ish, I’ll get a reasonable spot in line?

I really want a t-shirt! [IFO-You should get a T-shirt, but the wait could bne long to get inside ]

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Eric Lewis December 7, 2007 at 0522

do u believe the guy saying there would be 10free laptops? i bet its a lie. [IFO- A misunderstanding. Apple has never had a straight giveaway before, only a drawing. The line is a little tense until we find out for sure.[

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Destiny December 7, 2007 at 0604

Its 8am – i was thinking of heading over to the grandopening now .. how many people are in line?? [IFO-Just 18 in line at 8a.m.]

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ian December 7, 2007 at 0658

well bollocks, i shoulda camped out. 2 am and someone else woulda been there? oh well.

*goes to catch a train*

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Steve December 7, 2007 at 1018

I live at the corner of 14th and 9th ave. Above the comedy club. Is this store half done…. It looks like it? [IFO-No, it's completely finished.]

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Steve December 7, 2007 at 1057

What’s going to happen on the left side? Are they renting that out to another retailer?

Does the store wrap around in back, from a glance I’m not sure where they will hold workshops.. They also built some structure on the roof.. [IFO- There's some wrap slightly for storage on at least the ground floor, and maybe on the 3rd floor. But retail display is all within those two walls.]

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Jason December 7, 2007 at 1104

Does everyone visiting the store get a mystery gift or is there a set amount? [IFO- They figure not to run out, and given the current crowd, they probably won't. 3,500 is the number I heard.]

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Scott December 7, 2007 at 1205

I don’t get out of work until 5pm, but I was hoping to head over just to pick up a t-shirt. Does it seem like (based on the current line) I should even bother? Will they be gone? [IFO- The line is about 200 at 3 p.m., so it seems like you'll be fine. By the way, they'llhave 2,500 T-shirts.]

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chris December 7, 2007 at 1317

Any update on #’s in line now? wondering when the cutoff might be to get a t-shirt?? arrival by 5.30/6.00/6.30 ?? any guesses? Also: if 2500 t-shirts, how many “mystery gifts?” If i didn’t arrive til 7 or 8pm would i still be eligible for macbook/ipod-touch raffles? Thanks! [IFO -- Turns out the mystery gift was the poster, which also generated the win-no win part of the contest for products. Everyone entering the store before midnight has the same chance of winning.]

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insupituous December 7, 2007 at 1351

What is the store number? Not phone number. Example “R032 – New York City (NY) – SoHo”. “R___ – west 14th street”? [IFO -- It's store #250.]

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Steve December 7, 2007 at 1422

They ARE giving away computers: following is from Apple site at http://www.apple.com/retail/west14thstreet/

“Grand Opening – Friday, December 7 at 6:00 p.m.

When the Apple Store, West 14th Street opens this Friday, it’s going to be huge. Literally. With three floors of all things Apple, this will be Manhattan’s largest Apple Store. The top floor will feature a 46-foot Genius Bar. It will also be home to our exciting new Open Labs and Pro Labs – free, in-depth training sessions on professional creative photo, video and music applications.

Come celebrate with us this Friday as we’ll be giving away thousands of limited-edition posters and commemorative T-shirts. You might even win one of several great surprise gifts such as an iMac, a MacBook Pro, or an iPod touch.* Arrive early and be among the first to experience New York City’s best new attraction.

The Apple Store, West 14th Street is located at 401 West 14th Street at 9th Avenue.

Find out more about the West 14th Street store and see the calendar of events

* No purchase necessary. While supplies last.”

[IFO -- Thanks. "Give away" in this case was a drawing or sweepstakes, not a simply "hand over" as many in the line had hoped.]

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onicon December 7, 2007 at 1614

So how is it? Are you inside yet?

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Tommy December 7, 2007 at 1658

it’s 7 now. How many people do you think there are in line?

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Eric December 7, 2007 at 1718

So, any free laptops? I thought not. Apple has NEVER given free computers at an opening, no reason to start now, when everyone is willing to pay. [IFO -- Again, clarification: they gave away laptops, but not "to the first 10 in line" as many in line had hoped. Rather, they did it as a drawing or sweepstakes, with the outcome entirely random.]

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Chris December 7, 2007 at 1722

I just got back from the Apple store opening, and let me say, it had the worst crowd control I’ve seen. A lot of people who were standing in line for hours just got cut in front of by hundreds of others because the metal barricades didn’t go anywhere near as long as the line was. People were basically sandwiched into each other. I am lucky not to have been injured. It was very disappointing.

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Walnut Creek Jim December 7, 2007 at 1739

Keep up the wonderful reporting. Those of us in Califorinia are with you in spirit.

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kh December 7, 2007 at 1801

Almost 8pm, and we’re almost up to the door. We got here shortly before 6pm. So it was about an hour wait. The line has kept on growing, though. Last time I looked, it was almost back to 9th ave. I.e. huge. Problem is, a large amount of these people heard about this because of the announcent of giveaways. Most of them are not “Mac people.”

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John C. Randolph December 7, 2007 at 1847

Love that staircase.. I really want that in my house.

-jcr

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blackoutny December 7, 2007 at 1956

Totally agree with Chris’ comments. The crowd control was horrible. I got on line at about 4:30. The line was already wrapped around the block quickly approaching 15th street. Everything was cool for the next half hour but that quickly changed soon after 5pm when people started cutting and pushing their way into the line. The whole experience was very tense at times. Not enough barricades for the longer lines and those closest to the entrance were way too wide. Poorly, poorly planned.
Missed out on winning the big stuff. Got a iTunes Gift card, T-Shirt and poster but did witness one woman winning a laptop and another winning a Classic iPod. Drat!

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Dominique December 7, 2007 at 2023

The opening was awesome (even with the rowdy crowd)! I got my self a free t-shirt, a poster of iPhones that show a map of Manhattan and its three Apple Store locations, and a $10 iTunes gift card. I saw a couple people get iPods and someone even won a Macbook. Most got the gift card (of course).

The crowd was out of control. A whole group of people cut in front of me and the people I was with and had the audacity to get angry when they were moved to the back of the line. Some people just don’t know how to act when free stuff is being given out. *sigh*

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James December 7, 2007 at 2041

I was in line for 3.5 hours, and I was still a couple hundred people from the front at 7 PM when I bagged it and left. Crowd control WAS awful – nothing like the iPhone in June. People were cutting in throughout the wait and at one point shortly before I left about 20 people line jumped into the line 15 feet ahead. There were not enough security to keep things right.

And kh is right, many if not most of the people at my point in the line were not Mac people, but had heard about giveaways on several radio stations. I was sure there was going to be a riot when people heard that iPods were not simply being given away.

A waste of my time but since I live a couple of blocks from the store I can go in anytime. Apple really needs a couple more stores in Manhattan because the existing stores are always crazy busy, and this one looks like it will be the same.

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CHEECHANDCHONGDOTCOM December 7, 2007 at 2136

Today was the grand opening of the Apple Store at 14th and 9th. There are 2,000 tshirts to give away at each grand opening.

I got there at 5:20PM.. It was the longest line I’ve ever seen. It wrapped around the block (big block). I was at the halfway point. Store opens at 6PM.

Line moved at a steady pace at first, but then stopped. People were cutting the lines like mad. My estimate is that half the line consisted of cutters. I spoke to a NYC cop. He didn’t care. The hired security didn’t care. These people made it look like the welfare line.

The line stopped again because I think Mary J Blige was performing in the store.

I got in at 9:30PM. I was freezing and had to pee badly. THERE WERE NO SHIRTS LEFT, just iphone posters which came with a $10 itunes gift card…which I’ll never use because 128 kb songs sound horrible.

This is the first time I haven’t gotten a shirt. On my way to the subway, there were piles of posters, which people had torn up, all over the sidewalk.

The opening of this store was poorly planned. Fifth Ave and all the other openings I went to had such better security and crowd control.

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phil December 7, 2007 at 2220

I arrived at about four thirty. The line was a little long but it would have been worth the wait. Once the doors opened and the line started moving tons of people cut in front of me. I would guess that it was over a hundred. There was nothing I could do about it. I was cold and frustrated and still along way from the door so I left. It’s unfortunate because some of us who are genuinly excited for the opening got treated quite poorly. Bit I guess it’s not Apples fault. I’ll probably take a look tomorrow when all those who just wanted something free aren’t there.

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Q December 7, 2007 at 2324

Well I went around 6pm and got in before 7.30 but that was due to ppl pushing me into the line and then the barricade broke. A lot of ppl won some neat stuff, I only got the 10 iTunes card and the shirt, which is why I actually went, not bad but it was cold and I agree crazy.

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A wise man once December 8, 2007 at 0750

I agree that the crowd control was awful. Apple has had plenty of experience with opening stores and releasing in-demand products in Manhattan. They should’ve known better and been prepared. I blame Apple directly for the shoving, cutting, and total clusterfuck that was the line. We lined up at 5 pm and the line stretched down 15th Street along Chelsea Market past Passersby Stop to the . We waited patiently in line in the cold only to find out that THOUSANDS of people cut in front of us because of poor crowd management, terrible event planning, relying on NYPD cops that didn’t care, and hiring incompetent private security staff. Anyone with half a brain could’ve seen this coming. Apple ruined a potentially fun event because of their inability to plan something as simple as a line to stand in.

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Mark Wilson December 8, 2007 at 1251

Thanks for reminding me why I don’t live in New York. Yes Apple could have done a better job. But if the people they hired, off duty police, don’t care, then what should they have done. The real point is why so many people thought that it was alright to push ahead in line. What kind of people are these? A thousand pushed in line?

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CHEECHANDCHONGDOTCOM December 8, 2007 at 1729

People were also getting trampled. When security would open the gate, the people that cut the line rushed in, people toppled and got stepped on.

When the fifth ave store has an event, they have apple employees positioned every few feet, covering the entire block.

I got the impression that Apple needed to get this store opened before Christmas so they cut corners. We were only officially notified about this grand opening two wks ago.

Anyone ever been to Great Adventure? Same type of crowd.

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David Robeano December 9, 2007 at 0122

Wow. I was initially excited about a new Apple store in my neighborhood. I got off work and got into line at 5:30 (at that point all the way on 10th avenue and 15th street). I waited for two and a half hours, and only when i got to in front of the store did I see what was happening. People pushing and falling, cutting in line. No one for Apple controlling the crowd. Most of the people there looked like they could care less about Apple, and just wanted free stuff. At around 8 I got out of line and went home. I would have waited the extra hour, but not to be pushed and shoved so people could get a gift card. I still have not been in. A major disappointment from an Apple lover.

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gp December 9, 2007 at 1927

I have never seen this happen elsewhere. Must be typical of NY–put too many people close together in the city and this is what you get. Animals.

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NS December 10, 2007 at 1559

GP,
I would say its not typical of NY more exclusively people who are not mac people & also who don’t ever attend these kinds of events for anything. This massive influx of non-mac, (most of them non-manhattanites) who heard some DJ announce they were ‘handing’ out computers & ipods swooped onto the island like vultures looking for a fresh kill. It was the WORST CROWD CONTROL I’VE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE! I was highly annoyed to listen to the complaining about the line–the same people who CUT THE LINE swearing that they better get a computer when they get in the door or else. Disgusting! C’mon, did they really think Apple was just passing them out like lollipops?! UGH! As a few people have said here, it ruined a potentially fun event, and duped us true Mac fans out of Tshirts!

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KevinV December 23, 2007 at 2118

It was insanity, but well worth it since I won a new MacBook and previously only had a G5 desktop at home! I wouldn’t have even known about the opening celebration, without this blog – so thank you!!!!

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