Saturday, November 21, 2009

Opening Day at Steve's

Another day, another store opening on Greenwich Avenue. How long has it been since there have been two such in two days? Probably not for many long years, if ever.

Steve's Place, aka the Apple Store in the old cinema building across from Richards, was a mega-hit with the crowds. Over a thousand people were lined up all the way over to McArdle's on Arch Street. It was like Homecoming at Greenwich High School: squads of young Apple employees burst in and out of the store at periodic intervals to whip up enthusiasm from the waiting crowd. Finally it was count-down time. As the customers surged in, each was handed a boxed tee shirt, and passed down a double line of applauding employees, all cheering as loudly as though each newcomer had just scored a touchdown. It was quite a happening place.

As your scribe sat near one of the many demo iMacs, near the tables filled with iPhones, and around the corner from the kids' tables loaded with computers loaded with games, he was once more accosted by the young reporter from the Not-So-Local Rag, aka Yellowwich Time. "Hi," she said brightly. "We met at Ralph Lauren's yesterday." Apparently your scribe's comment to her then had not fazed her in the slightest.

"Your article on the opening had a pretty glaring error," he pointed out to her. "On page one you call the building 'completely renovated', and on page six you call it 'built from the ground up'. You can't have it both ways." She smiled on, as unfazed as ever.

"What's your name?" she asked your scribe. "I'm nobody," he replied. She asked again, and got the same answer. "Are you one of those bloggers?" she asked next, but didn't wait for a reply. "What do you think this new store means for Greenwich Avenue?" she asked. "No comment," your scribe responded. "No comment?" she asked again. "No comment," came the reply again.

Finally, realizing that your scribe was not about to give her an in-depth interview, she smiled again and move off to look for a more talkative subject. She was replaced in short order by Lance, the person in charge of the store's personal shopping service.

This nifty feature is accessed by going online and making an appointment. You then come to the store, where you get a full hour of Lance's undivided attention, as he demonstrates in depth the machines you would like to understand better. Nervous about the iPhone and all its hundreds of programs and features? Lance will make it an old friend by the time he's done with you.

The minimalist decor could hardly contrast more sharply with Ralph's place. The focus is on the merchandise, pure and simple.

Your scribe did stop in briefly at Ralph's as he headed back up the Avenue, where he was offered a mimosa and a large cookie featuring a polo player in full gallop. Definitely not your ordinary morning on Greenwich Avenue.


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