It may not be a sample sale, but we respect any event that will induce people to line up in droves to buy something. In this case, it's the iPad, which drops tomorrow. We paid a visit to Apple's 5th Ave outpost to get the inside scoop on how to get our hands on the lusted-after device.
Upon approach, it's hard to discern hordes of meandering tourists and those who may be staked out to get an iPad. To add to the melee on Fifth Ave. and 57th Street, there are news trucks, ready to pounce. Turns out, according to a pair of very elusive Apple security guards stationed at the front door, nobody is allowed to wait in line yet so nobody has arrived to form a queue.
We called bluff on that and ended up getting the whole skinny from two friendly NYPDs. "Yeah, you can stay out here overnight, go down there with the rest of them but be careful." It was nice to bond with another local in that mess.
The cops directed us to a covert line down on 58th street next to FAO Schwarz, where only about 10 people had assembled -- note, these are the people who did not pre-order. Those planners will wait in a separate, roped-off line by the store in the morning. Are you still with us?
At the head of the line was the man whom one passerby called, "iPad Greg", who kindly shared some of his insight and experience in the fine art of epic line leading. "The line is pretty much every man for himself, to each his own. We all just wait patiently until tomorrow when we can go in, get our iPads and try them out," Greg said, with the air of a zen master.
In short, the Apple product release has become a well oiled machine, with the everyday foot traffic providing ample practice to prevent a stampede tomorrow morning.
Crowds gather, but not for the iPad. These people seem to be here simply to mill about.
This bunch is the real deal, though much quieter than we'd thought.