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Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Latest Thing

Line outside the Apple Store, Soho, NYC
Composite photo by myself outside the Apple Store on Prince Street, in Soho.

Entry into the store for the Apple 3g iphone that went on sale Friday was carefully monitored. The New York Times reported that people started waiting on line, beginning Tuesday.

On Saturday, the line went round the corner and down Greene Street nearly a city block, stopping just short of Houston Street. I walked by at around 11 am.

This photo is best viewed larger.

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Well, yes, New Yorkers are suckers for a line.

Not the 'What's your sign' type but the red velvety rope type, separating the special people from the ordinary.

I remember some experiments on an episode of 60 Minutes from eons ago. One involved leaving various coins on a New York City street (penny, nickel, quarter) and seeing how long it took before they were picked up. Another involved starting an imaginary queue on the sidewalk and seeing how quickly people would join it.

Maybe the queue experiment is from my imagination? (The coin experiment definitely happened. The nickel and penny were snubbed by everyone). New Yorkers have their own language for queuing up. We stand on line here, rather than in it, like the rest of the country.

The experience is special for us, requiring patience, dealing with a crowd and tolerating physical discomfort. Standing on line means knowing what's worth standing on line for. It's the sacrifice of time and comfort for the latest thing.

Related posts: Schmata, or The Annual Warehouse Sale and Fashion Accessories Coming Soon.

8 comments:

Susu said...

Paris is a promised land for lines too. And you always gotta watch out for those trying to gain a few inches by all kinds of tricks. Latin temperament. Not so orderly. But I still love it here.

Spandrel Studios said...

Ah the iPhone lines weren't so long here where I live - they sold out in the first hour! I wonder how many sales they missed out on, sending so few units where there was clearly a lot of interest?

Tam said...

Not sure how our Apple store handled the lines, I am sure it was hectic.

Love the photo, makes me feel I was there. :)

Kitty said...

Hi Susu
I never imagined Parisians waiting in line. Not a criticism at all, just thought they'd be too cool to be bothered!

Hi Spandrel
I agree. Wow. One hour?
I guess they thought people would be persistent and get their phones eventually.

Thanks Tam
Seems like everyone has an apple store. They will be the next de facto chain store.

Tammy said...

I hate waiting in line. I suppose that's because I usually have a kid with me and kids aren't great waiting for anything. LOL

Dana said...

We West Coasters are suckers too.. must mean something good if there is a line! I heard that new phone is riddled with problems.. maybe they should have held out introducing until they worked out all the kinks :) Great Shot!

babooshka said...

You know what they say about us in the UK. We see a queue and join it, even before we know what's at the end of it! Wonderful image, especailly the enlarrged version.

Spandrel Studios said...

To clarify: They sold out at my local AT+T store in an hour. But today, I called the nearest Apple store, and after just 90 minutes in line - success! :)