Today the Apple Store in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal opened to the public. You would think that this was the first Apple Store in New York — no, the world — the way people lined up to get in the store.
You’d also think this location sold a special gold iPad for $99 the way people stood in line for 45 minutes or more. But no, it’s just another Apple Store. So why all the hype?
The answer is obvious: because it’s Apple. Okay, fine. But aside from the fanboys and girls lining up over a thousand deep on opening day, what’s so special about this Apple Store location?
Admittedly, this is a very snazzy location to have a store of any kind. And as I mentioned the other day, the mix of Apple minimalist design with the opulence of Grand Central’s design actually compliment each other nicely.
The computer maker didn’t really add much to the space except some tables, big screens on the wall, and an Apple logo. There’s no giant glass encasement or a glass staircase. Apple simply moved their interior setup into an existing space.
The store itself isn’t enclosed at all. It exists on what is essentially a balcony above the main concourse with a view of the famous constellation ceiling and gorgeous light fixtures hanging above it all.
The store opened at 10am, but the line started well before that. Dozens of Apple employees in red shirts were on hand to help control the crowd, sell products, and to form a cheer squad. Yep.
They lined the stairs to the store, counted down the last 5 seconds to 10, then cheered and high-fived customers as they entered the store for the first time. Around 11 they were only half-heartedly doing so, but it was kind of a sight at first.
Store layout was in an L shape, and it seemed to go on forever. Each time I thought I’d seen all the rooms, there was one more to enter. I finally reached the “end” when I came to the accessories room, which is lined with everything you need to outfit your Mac, MacBook, iPhone, iPad, or iPod.
Given that hundreds of people lined up to get in today the store was barely controlled madness. However, it wasn;t as congested as it could be because people were able to buy products right where they were standing.
Apple employees used their iPhones and card readers to facilitate transactions, there were credit card readers on some tables, and customers could also pay via the Apple Store app on their own.
One New Yorker I spoke to said he was excited that there was now an Apple Store on his way to and from work so he could stop in and pick things up without having to go out of his way. A few people I spoke to came from out of town for the event.
Though I suspect the store won’t always be nearly as crowded as it is today, it looks like overall it’s a big hit.