Apple’s brand-new Grand Central Terminal location opened its doors today to swarms of Apple fans, journalists and tourists.
The new store is a pretty big deal for a few reasons. First, Grand Central is an iconic structure and one of the most photographed landmarks in New York City. Second, at 23,000 square feet, this location is one of the world’s largest Apple Stores. Third, the store merges the past and present. Unlike Apple’s other, more modernist stores, in this one Apple’s futuristic iPads and iPhones are coupled with a backdrop of early 1900s architecture.
As I walked around during the opening and was handed a free T-shirt (see below), I couldn’t help but feel that I was inside something special. Perhaps it’s just Grand Central Terminal’s chandeliers and marble and brass facade, but it felt more regal and first-class than any Apple Store I’ve ever been in. The Apple Store’s normal design instincts usually leave me feeling cold, but this location left me feeling warm — and not just because I was surround by hordes of people (and dogs!). It’s the sort of place I expect to find busy every time I walk by.
At least it’s accommodating to its crowds. The massive location has two Genius Bars with 12 seats each, 45 display tables for products, three walls of accessories and 315 full- and part-time employees. Because of the way Grand Central is set up, the Store is sectioned off into different areas that feel disconnected from the others. The store has a room devoted to third-party accessories, a room focused on the Genius Bars and an area called Startup, where the Apple team can help you get a newly purchased iPad, iPhone or other product up and running.
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