Apple Raises Curtain on Spectacular NYC Store

November 11, 2009

On Wednesday evening workers removed the plastic covering over the enormous glass storefront of the Upper West Side (NYC) retail store at 67th Street and Broadway, revealing a single, stone-walled room lit by ceiling lights at night, and flooded with sunlight during the day. Besides the ground-level space with four rows of display tables, there is spiral glass staircase leading down to a lower level, presumably the same size as the 8,500 square-foot main level. The size and scale of the store, and the amount of stone that was used both eclipse any previous Apple store project. The only stainless steel visible is on the huge backlit Apple logo suspended from the inside ceiling. View a photo gallery of the store.

The store’s grand opening is set for 10 a.m. Saturday. Previous high-profile store openings in NYC have been at 6 p.m. on Fridays. Celebrities were invited to two previous New York grand openings, lured with promises of free Apple merchandise, including laptops and software. It’s possible that invitees to this opening will represent that world of stage arts, since the Lincoln Center is just a short two blocks away from the Apple store.

At the West 14th Street store, Apple gave out a special edition poster along with the commemorative T-shirts. At that store’s opening, if you found a sticker on the inside of the poster tube cap, you won one of several prizes, including an iTunes gift card, an few iPod shuffle or a laptop. Apple has never given away free products based upon visitors being among the first in line for the grand opening.

At night the store is a beacon visible for several blocks, especially for those approaching by car or on foot from the south. The glow of the ceiling lights, the backlit logo and the back-lit wall graphics are brighter than anything on Broadway. As you approach closer, the towering height of the storefront becomes apparent. Once in front of the building, you realize that Apple opted not to create another Boston or Regent Street (London) store, with a mezzanine level. They took the Scottsdale Quarter (Arizona) store and did it one better—this single space is about two and one-half times the volume of the Scottsdale building, and with a second level hidden away below ground like Fifth Avenue (NYC).

The sunlight will be interesting to watch from day to day, and from season to season. The store is roughly angled east-to-west from front-to-back. Depending upon the shadows created by nearby buildings, the sun will strike the back wall in the morning, rise over the glass ceiling, and then shine back at the front door during the evening.

Besides the glass storefront, there is about 30 feet of the left sidewall on 67th Street that is also glass. This setback allows a wider view of the store’s interior, especially since the two walls come together at an acute angle at the corner. Also, an all-stone wall along 67th Street would have made the exterior more massive to passersby.

Bicycle fencing prevents anyone from using the sidewalk in front of the store right now, since they are still moving equipment back and forth. An unsightly orange-and-white vehicle barrier still protects pedestrians forced to walk in the street by the sidewalk closure. On 67th Street, scissor lifts and work trucks still block one lane of traffic. A temporary traffic signal, anchored with a large block of concrete, sits at the corner.

By 10 p.m. Thursday workers inside were using wipes and feather dusters to clean the display tables and sidewall display counters. Other workers were preparing to re-clean the stone flooring. Outside, a crew on a scissor lift was starting to clean the entire 54-foot height and 75-foot width of the front window.

At about the same time, Karl Backus, manager of Apple’s projects for architects Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, appeared at the store, walking the perimeter sidewalks and taking photos.

The store drew various reactions among New Yorkers. One woman passing the store on Thursday night asked another person when the store was opening. She then sniffed, “It’s a eyesore!” and quickly moved on in the 50-degree wind. Another passerby commented to someone on her cellular telephone that the store was “just one floor,” explaining Apple’s design decision by saying the company was “cheap.”

There are several amenities near the store, including a Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, the large Food Emporium grocery store, a late-night movie theater across the street, and a noodle and grill restaurant right next door that includes a “public space” indoor seating area (common in NYC). The #1 subway line (Lincoln Center) is just 1-1/2 blocks away, and the A-B-C-D lines are about another two blocks south.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

JT November 11, 2009 at 2251

67th Street! :)


Brian Kaempen November 11, 2009 at 2336

That first picture makes it look like a plane hangar. I don’t see any HVAC ductwork, so does that mean that at least the ground floor isn’t ventilated? The bottom floor and back rooms have to include those items, I would think (Geniuses need to be comfortable working on customers’ machines). I’m kinda jealous that NYC gets yet ANOTHER outstandily and uniquely designed store, and Chicago’s latest store will be sharing it’s design with both the Scottsdale Quarter and Manhasset stores.



Joe Mamma November 12, 2009 at 0056

That’s why they call it the Second City. :)


Cedric Brown November 12, 2009 at 0224

Kind of looks like a high-tech college gymnasium. The shots taken from a distance make it look like a giant racquetball court. If the store was 2 1/2 times wider from east to west you could play jai-alai in it. In case you aren’t familiar with the sport, think racquetball on an overdose of steroids.

I missed the spiral staircase the first couple of times through the pictures. Does anyone else notice an unusually high amount of shine on the floor. It doesn’t look like the usual dull gray tiles in the other stores. The color looks somewhat beige.

I’m not that familiar with NYC. I haven’t visited since 1961 when I was just a kid. I would have thought with the obvious investment they have in this property they would have a little longer hours, say eleven o’clock. I appreciate that 5th Ave is 8 to 10 blocks away. But as they say. “You don’t get from anywhere to anywhere in NYC in 30 minutes.” Do the folks that can afford to live on the upper west side really want to hike that far or take a cab if they have a store right next door that is arguably more spectacular than 5th Ave.

I agree with Brian about the HVAC (heating, ventilation, air-conditioning) not being very front and center. It’s a hard thing to hide and still be efficient. When the sun comes blasting in from the south through the glass from the south, you have a greenhouse effect (NOT global warming greenhouse Al Gore) and things will get very warm if your A/C is not right.


Sulivant is a peder-ass November 12, 2009 at 0326

In any of the other apple stores have you ever seen exposed duct work? Don’t you think that they go to great efforts to hide them. The ducts are in the walls and push air from behind the panels. Down stairs they will push air through the ceiling troughs.


Steve Reposa November 12, 2009 at 0440

I’m kind bummed that I won’t be able to make it to this opening. It looks wonderful!
I was planning on going since I heard about it, but my wife & I will be having our first child today.


Marktrek November 12, 2009 at 0502

The Apple Logo is impressive. Otherwise it just looks like a big empty glass box. A mezzanine level would have helped.


?? November 12, 2009 at 0609

I like the analogy – it’s supposed to look like a theater, right?


qka November 12, 2009 at 0732

You’re getting ahead of yourselves – Thursday evening has not happened yet here in NY.

maybe you meant WEDNESDAY evening, 11/11?


observer November 12, 2009 at 0754

@Steve Reposa – Congratulations on the good news! There will be more new Apple Store openings.


Darrin Dishong November 12, 2009 at 0946

I will be attending the opening. I should arrive around 2 or 3am on Saturday. Another rainy campout in NYC (I camped out for 5th Ave as well)


Chikodi November 12, 2009 at 1411

I had to read to the sixth paragraph of your story before I had any idea where this store is opening, and this is after living on the Upper West Side for four years. [IFO – Thanks. I plugged in the intersection location high up in the story.]


abugida November 12, 2009 at 1510

So Apple is leaving Aluminum behind. Could there be some stone MacBookPros in the cards for 2010…?


Darrin Dishong November 12, 2009 at 1615

Does anyone know if they will allow tents for overnighters for the Upper West Side opening?


bettykoyle November 12, 2009 at 1622

way to much wasted space

i would of added a second level at the back


Fred November 12, 2009 at 1640

Apple’s square foot revenue vastly exceeds even stores such as Nordstroms & Macy’s. Apple is the most successful retail company in the world.

And yet, it amazes me how commenters on these sites think they know better than Apple how to design a store. What exactly are your qualifications for spouting off your ignorant opinions? Simply because you can? You lack discernment, discipline and vision. That is why you are reduced to leaving inane comments on inane sites such as this one.

Have a nice, small and, basically, useless life.

Just thinkin’ of you!


Rob G November 12, 2009 at 1946

Totally going to the opening, glad i don’t have work. and people are crazy for thinking the design is bad, it’s minimalism at it’s best, typical Apple simplicity, i love it. and Fred, your comment -literally- made me laugh out loud. Thinking of arriving ~7am, am i bound to be hours back in line? i noticed someone up ahead mentioned camping? at 3am? am i wasting my time arriving at 7am? lol.


Steve Reposa November 13, 2009 at 0645

Good luck to everyone staying out overnight! Hope the weather isn’t as bad as it was for 5th Ave. There was no baby yesterday so maybe it’ll hold out til tomorrow and I can get a shirt off of ebay.


Mike Kaufmann November 13, 2009 at 1241

Has anyone eaten at Ollie’s Noodle House yet? Is it a suitable replacement for Wagamama? Have a great time, Gary! I be slumming in Maui.



ADE November 13, 2009 at 1839

Since I’m press (school paper), I get to bypass the line entirely, and I get a tour from Apple PR. I’m in 10th grade! [IFO – That explains the tour group I saw!]


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