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Apple Opens Grand Central Terminal Store With Celebrities And Controversy

Submitted by on December 12, 2011 – 11:54 am2 Comments

Apple opened a massive, much anticipated retail location in New York City’s historic Grand Central Terminal on Friday, adding not only to the company’s allure and sales, but showing once again that the store openings themselves are star-studded cultural events.

Fans lined up overnight to get a first look at the +23,000sq.ft. location. Reports show that die-hard Apple fans came from as far away as California and Europe to attend the opening, and possibly snag one of the coveted T-shirts that Apple gives away to the first thousand or so customers at a new store.

Celebrities joined the crowds too and checked out new gadgets. Sightings included Blake Lively (below), Michael J. Fox, Jane Krakowski, Jimmy Fallon, and Spike Lee.

The site overlooks Grand Central’s cavernous Main Concourse. The store deviates from Apple’s famous glass-heavy store designs, and incorporates itself more into the stunning marble of the transportation hub.

The day was not without it’s controversies, though. Some taxpayers believe that Apple got a preferential deal on rent from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the agency that oversees Grand Central. Indeed, Apple is now the only tenant that does not pay a share of its revenues to the MTA, though supporters countered that the store’s foot traffic will benefit every other business in the terminal. The New York State comptroller has said that his office is conducting routine oversight of the deal, though local tabloids have tried to exaggerate the “investigation.”

Aside from revenue, others might question the wisdom of putting a busy store smack in the middle of a transportation hub that sees 750,000 travelers daily. But aside from adding to the vibrancy of the location, Apple also suggests that their store might be a place for passengers to kill a few spare minutes before catching a train. Apple has even introduced “Express Workshops”, lasting only 15 minutes, for their new location.

Have you been to the new store? What do you think?

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