Kelly O’Reilly/The Thread
Meet iPad Greg: The First Person in Line at Apple's 5th Ave Store
By mid-afternoon Friday, about a dozen patient people had settled into their folding chairs and onto the ground to get an early start waiting for their chance to be the first to get their hands on the iPad at 9 a.m. Saturday morning.
Twenty-three year old Justin Meltzer came straight to the Apple store after a job interview at a production company.
“I just wanted to come by and be apart of it,” Meltzer told NBCNewYork. “It’s kind of like electronic history in the making.”
The Long Island resident, who joined the line around 3 p.m., said he had no intention of staying until Saturday morning to get the actual product, but was documenting his wait in a video he planned to put online “to show the world that I was here.”
A more eager enthusiast, Dean Vassallo, 27, from the Hamptons, secured his place at number ten in line by arriving around noon Friday.
“I am an Apple fanboy,” said Vassallo. “I’ve done this before. I did the same thing for the original first generation iPhone.”
Vassallo said that although he reserved an iPad online, he came out to wait in line just for the experience.
“Last time, I was so prepared. I had a water cooler, I had food, I had everything,” he said. "This time I decided to bring nothing. I have a sweatshirt and a toothbrush.”
Vassallo said he is most excited about the iPad filling the void in between the iPhone and a full blown laptop.
“I’m one of the people who is on blogs all day long, I used to go to Macworld, I’ve seen several keynotes that Steve Jobs has spoken at, and I’ve shaken his hand," he said. "This is what I do, and I love it”
For German journalist Richard Goodyear, the launch of the iPad hits closer to home.
“In a way I think, not just the iPad, but this whole time that we’re living in, together with Apple, is something like a new printing press era,” he said.
In fact, last week, Goodyear traveled from his home in Munich to Mainz, Germany, the city where Johannes Gutenberg created the printing press.
Now Goodyear is in New York for business and decided to get in line for the iPad around noon today after running into trouble getting information for the articles he freelances for the German media.
“Its very hard to get information from Apple, they are very secretive about everything,” he said. “That’s the reason I actually decided to go here and stand in line myself, to get first hand information.”
Goodyear said he was surprised at how short the line was, in comparison to the length of those for the iPhone about three years ago.
“I learned that this is the sequel, and as with sequels sometimes they’re not as good as the first one,” he said of the line. “I imagined the line to be much more ‘uber.’”
In preparation for the overnight wait, Goodyear bought a $50 folding chair he plans on giving to a homeless person. He says a friend will fill in for him for a few hours, but he’ll take his back his place in line before the morning.
“Like most people around here, nobody has ever touched it, so I’m very eager to have it in my own hands,” he said. “So it’s like, I give them my money, and I’ll see what I get.”
Line waiting became a family affair for some. Montclair, New Jersey resident Jeanniey Mullen, 39, joined the line at 5 a.m. with daughter Giovanna, 11, and mother Toni Digiorno in hopes of getting two iPads in addition to the one pre-ordered for home delivery.
Mullen said, “When will a mom and a daughter get to sleep on the streets of New York for good reasons?”
All three said that the wait has been pleasant, with Apple staff checking up on them and other people in line being great to talk to.
Brooklyn’s Sunage Bravo, and her two daughters Ashley and Nessrine, started their wait at 11:30 p.m. Thursday to get an iPad for Bravo’s older sister who was too late on pre-ordering for the April 3rd delivery and could not wait in line herself.
“I’m hoping that it goes by quickly, we’re already tired,” said Bravo. “We’d like to go home and go to sleep.”
Number one in line was retired highway maintenance worker Greg Packer, 46, who is known for being the first in line for the iPhone in 2007.
Packer began his lonesome wait way back on Tuesday at 7 a.m. with a folding chair and a change of clothes.
“I like the process of standing in line," said Packer, who has practically made a living out of being the first for product releases.