“Rain and thunder didn’t deter die-hard Apple Computer fans from gathering in line outside the new Apple store on Fifth Avenue before Friday’s grand opening,” Marguerite Reardon reports for CNET News. “Stormy Shippy, 20, traveled 1,550 miles from his home in Dallas and camped out most of Thursday night and all day Friday on Fifth Avenue with about two dozen other people as thunder rumbled and rain fell on the streets of Manhattan. Wrapped in rain gear, plastic tarps and even trash bags, these hard-core fans sat and stood most of the day waiting for the doors on the 32-foot glass cube, which caps the entrance to the subterranean store, to open at 6 p.m. EST.”
“Like Deadheads, the storied fans of the band Grateful Dead, these Apple fans crisscross the country, and even the world, camping out all night to be among the first people to set foot in new Apple stores. Shippy, who recently graduated from the University of North Texas, was the first in line at the London opening back in November 2004,” Reardon reports. “The Apple stores and grand openings have taken on a life of their own, creating a community of followers. The showy design and architecture of the stores themselves have helped make their openings an event. Gary Allen, the No. 3 man standing in line alongside Shippy, appears to be the ringleader of the Apple groupies. Allen, 58, has traveled from his home in Berkeley, Calif., to 12 Apple store openings in the past five years. His first store opening was in Palo Alto, Calif., in October 2001… Since that first experience, Allen said, he’s gotten hooked. Three years ago he created a Web site to chronicle his Apple store travels. He’s been using free Wi-Fi access in the General Motors Plaza on Fifth Avenue to post pictures and updates to his blog.”
MacDailyNews Note: Allen’s blog is ifoAppleStore and his Fifth Avenue coverage to which we linked earlier today is here: http://ifostore.cachefly.net/fifth_avenue/index.html
Reardon continues, “For Allen and other people standing in line, such as Monte Nutzman, 55, from West Des Moines, Iowa, coming to Apple store openings is more about meeting people and being part of an event than actually seeing what the inside of the store looks like. ‘It’s really a social event,’ Allen said. ‘There are other Apple enthusiasts here, and it’s fun to meet likeminded people. It’s also our way to express our support for what all the employees of Apple do… I’ve seen Steve Jobs at a few of these openings. But it’s a real thrill to see him come here and walk around the glass cube, which he supposedly helped design. I think the cube is fantastic. It’s designed to attract people to the edge, so they can look down into the store. It’s really incredible.'”
Full article here.
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