Waiting Line Begins for NYC Store

November 13, 2009

Just after 4 p.m. a 15 year-old local boy became the first person in line at the new Upper West Side Apple store, layered with three New York Jets sweatshirts and a wool cap. The time before his arrival was rather slow, with only one visible employee training session held on the giant display floor for the new iPod touch point-of-sale (POS) devices. There were no receptions or friends-and-family parties tonight. At about 6 p..m. Apple’s security team erected 20 feet of stanchions to the right of the front door for the short waiting line: Matthew, Ian and myself. The weather didn’t change all day—about 50 degrees and very gusty winds. It stayed dry until about 8:45 p.m., when it began to sprinkle rain. See a gallery of today’s photos.

About 3 p.m. Sr. V-P Ron Johnson appeared in front of the store, and was talking to other staffers. After a few minutes, Johnson was by himself, and passersby naturally approached him to ask about the store, since he appeared to know something about the store. He gladly explained to each person that it was a new Apple store, and that it would open “tomorrow at 10 a.m.”

One of those passersby who stopped to talk to Johnson was a 13 year-old boy rolling his backpack up the street. Turns out, the boy sings for the Metropolitan Opera, and was on his way to an audition there. Johnson was apparently taken with the boy’s story and his curiosity about the store. He pulled out his cellular phone and arranged with a colleague inside the store to give the youth a quick tour of the store.

At 8:35 p.m. three engines and a tower ladder truck from the New York City Fire Department converged on the Apple store, apparently to investigate a fire alarm. Firefighters went inside to investigate, and others came to the storefront to await a report via radio. They admired the store and posed for a photograph with Matthew.

Around 9 p.m. the cleaning crew set up protective covers over the baseboard stainless steel and on the display table legs, all before starting to wash the stone floor—again.

I expect the waiting line will stall overnight, but will begin to grow starting at around 5 a.m. The last two NYC grand openings were held on Friday nights, so it’s not clear when the line will start growing, or how large a crowd will eventually form.

Camping chairs are certainly acceptable as long as they don’t block the sidewalk. However, once the store opens and the line starts moving inside, it will be difficult to carry a chair into the store.

We continue to hear that there will be some surprises at the grand opening. It’s not clear if that means celebrity appearances, a random give-away or other special feature. However, Apple rarely gives away free merchandise at its retail store openings, and when it does the prizes are generally modest (iTunes gift cards?).

Steve Jobs has not been sighted and there are no indications he will appear at the grand opening.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve Reposa November 13, 2009 at 1911

Good luck guys! Wish I could be there. I’ll be following along via twitter & the site.

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Steve November 13, 2009 at 2051

Good to see Ron J mixing it up with people outside the store.

Cleaning that stone floor must be a constant process.

thanks for the photo’s keep them coming

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chris f November 14, 2009 at 0027

wish i could be there! i’m very jealous!!

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b.christopher November 14, 2009 at 0417

I am so happy to have an Apple Store a couple of blocks from me. I woke up early and intend to take pictures this morning of the opening.

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Rob November 14, 2009 at 0516

How long is the line as of 8:15am?? I want to head there but it’s raining, sort of.

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Christian Turkoanje November 14, 2009 at 0636

It sucks waiting in line there has to be over 2000 people in line.

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b.christopher November 14, 2009 at 0735

OMG it’s crowded. You can hear the roar of the crowd flowing out onto the street. The glass enclosure makes the inside visible from almost 180 degrees plus the transparency of the ceiling. This area needs some excitement. After Tower Records left those two corners were too quiet. I think I’ll wait a while before attempting to go in.

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lsafjlgkjebkjn November 14, 2009 at 0958

I was there today (wearing the shirt now!!!). It was awesome. I only stayed twenty minutes because all I did was walk around the store. AMAZING architecture.

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bebo November 14, 2009 at 2035

Hmn… I guess the glory days of Apple Store openings are over. Used to be that when a flagship store (maybe any store) opened, the opening was covered by every photo blog and news site around by the end of that night. Here it is, 11:30pm and hardly a peep from anyone.

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Brian Kaempen November 14, 2009 at 2132

@bebo: no live TV news coverage of the opening? When the chicago store opened, not only were several stations broadcasting from there, but at least one had a helicopter overhead. Also, the line there stretched 100% around the block, but Apple security did a good job of keeping the end of the line and the front of the line separated. How was the line in NYC?

-Me

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Eric Barbosa November 15, 2009 at 0244

I was online at about 7:50. Would have been an hour earlier but the first train on the NE Corridor Line on NJ Transit never came. Was maybe 100 back. I just got into the last of the 3 rows of blockades. Line really started to pick up after I got there. Apple got Starbucks to give out free coffee/hot chocolate and baked goods. They also gave temp, Apple branded umbrellas to people who didn’t bring them (it was raining most of the day). They said you had to give them back when you entered if you got one. We saw one lady take the umbrella on a bus and leave. The “woots” started at about 9:30, on and off until 9:57 when they wouldn’t stop for hours. It was loud in there, obviously. They had music playing but I couldn’t tell you who it was (actually, there were 2 songs I could recognize but can’t remember names). There was a cameraman from NY1 (which I don’t think I have in NJ), who interviewed the person next to me on line. A couple people from the press were there, one who took like 20 pictures of me (in my Apple Hat and Leopard T-Shirt). A sign near entrance to store had a disclaimer that if you entered the store, you agreed to be photographed/videotaped for use at Apple’s discretion. I got to personally meet Ron Johnson when he was downstairs. I am about to post some photos and edit together some videos I took to my MobileMe gallery. I’ll link ‘em here when I’m done.

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Eric Barbosa November 15, 2009 at 0320

Photos: http://gallery.me.com/maxeverde#100266
Videos coming soon.

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