Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
At 10am today, Grand Central Terminal will become a wholly owned subsidiary of the Apple corporation. Just kidding. But 10am is when the city's fifth Apple store—and the world's largest—opens inside the iconic railway hub. Below, Tiffany Yannetta reports live from the scene.
9:15am: Good morning! As I arrived, the staff was finishing a group photo, and now a bunch of employees are gathered on the balcony. The line's a little hard to find, but rest assured there is a queue of people going all down the Northeast Passage.
9:20am: The line is at least 150 people deep, probably more. There's a bunch of cops. I saw one drug-sniffing dog, and since I lined up another 30 people have arrived behind me.
The line circa 9:15am
9:24am: The line goes down part of the Northeast Passage and then doubles around. One of the employees told me people showed up "pretty early" but she wasn't sure exactly when. She said most people are starting to show up now.
9:26am: There's an employee going down the line, taking pictures and then asking people to sign the papers on her clipboard. She must be carrying release forms.
9:31am: You know, this line is so much more chatty and enthusiastic than a sample sale line. Nearly everyone here is in groups, and the group in front of me has two iPads between the four of them.
3:39am: OK, here's what's going on with the photos. They make you sign a photo agreement for when you're inside the store, and then they take your picture holding it. Super awkward. There's one form per person and each form has a number. Mine is 246, but that doesn't make me the 246th person in line—I'm told the numbers are random.
9:40am: An employee says she thinks the first people arrived at 5am. She says there might be 1000 people here. The line now wraps around a third time.
The three tiers of line-waiters
9:42am: The whole photo process jumbled the line! I just got shuffled two spaces back. Apparently the people with the forms are shooting a commercial.
9:45am: Another employee just walked through the line, trying to rile everyone up by yelling "How are you feeling?"
9:47am: The iPad group in front of me is using both tablets to look at magazine covers.
9:50am: There's one Grand Central officer/guard/Grand Poobah who is getting pissed that the line is wavering. People are stepping over their allotted spaces! And now more and more people are starting to sit down.
9:51am: A guy from the third layer of the line is inching towards me, chatting nonchalantly on his cell phone. He better not think he's going to cut.
9:53am: Breaking: In honor of the new Apple store, Zaro's Bakery will start selling 99 cent apple turnovers at 10am.
9:59am: The "doors" must be open because the line is moving!
10:03am: I'm about 15 people away from being on the first part of the line.
10:08am: There's a woman on the other size of the line wearing an "I'm a PC" shirt. Ha!
10:15am: We've been at a standstill for about ten minutes, but now we're moving.
10:20am:Just got my wristband to get in!
10:24am: Walked through the final part of the corridor, got high fives from approximately a million Apple employees, and I'm in!
10:25am: So. Much. Cheering.
For a full report from inside, step right this way.