It just so happen that the day (Friday 6/29/07) of arriving in NYC was the same day as the launch of the Apple iPhone. With the buzz that Apple and Steve Jobs had built from the intial announcement back in January, there was no doubt the anticipation was going to be big. It was just a matter of how big it was going to be on this first day of release.
Since my dinner plans for that evening took me along Fifth Avenue, I decided to check out the Apple Store to check out the crowd lining up.Surprising and yet unexpected, the line at the Apple Store snaked from the huge glass cube that is the store’s grand entrance on 5th Avenue then east along 58th Street and then around the block north on Madison Avenue. I could not guess the number of people in line and as a matter of fact, I didn't see the end of the line. It is a wonder if the store would have enough phones. Pictured above is the line at the corner of 58th and Madison.
Like many stores in Manhattan, the Apple Store is an example of shopping attractions. You may not really want to buy anything but you still go and see it. The striking entrance and the store itself has helped to bring crowds to this end of 5th Avenue near Central Park. No doubt the F.A.O. Schwarz toy store is a beneficiary of those crowds. Prior to the Apple Store, this was largely a barren plaza except for the lunch crowd. The area is now buzzing all the time with the Apple Store open 24 hours 365 days a year.
The store itself is reached via a circular glass staircase or the glass elevator. Downstairs is the second largest Apple Store in area (behind London’s Regent Street store). Vast and populated by many salespeople, all your Apple computer, iPod and now iPhone needs are to be met here.
Across the street from the store is the landmark 100-year-old French-chateau style Plaza Hotel. The hotel is currently undergoing a $400 million renovation after it which it will reopen as a luxury Fairmont property and boast both hotel rooms and condos. Also adjacent to the store is Central Park South. At the 5th Ave corner is Grand Army Plaza which commemorates the Union Army in the Civil War. A portion of Grand Army Plaza fronts the Plaza hotel.
Check out www.apple.com for more information. The 5th Ave Apple Store is one of two locations in Manhattan. The other is located in Soho at 103 Prince Street which is only open during normal shopping hours.