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FoxNews.com took a first look inside Apple’s new flagship store in Grand Central Terminal in New York City, one of the most recognizable commuter spots in the world. ( View the slideshow here. ) The store will officially open to the public at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 9 -- just in time for the holidays.
It’s quite a sight to see: The 23,000-square-foot prime location is one of Apple’s biggest, located in the heart of the historic terminal and convenient for commuters and tourists alike. Apple signed a 10-year lease with the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) for the space, once occupied by a restaurant.
The wide-open store has a grand feel to it, with several unique features. The first hits you as you walk in: an express bar where you can request the exact product you want without having to wonder around.
You can even make a purchase before you arrive by using the Apple Store app for Personal Pick-up Service.
“Whether you are on the train, in a taxi or walking to the store, when you arrive to the station, just pick it up,” Bob Bridger, VP of retail and real estate development at Apple, told FoxNews.com.
Another new feature allows customers to make purchases on their own while in the store. “You literally swipe the bar code on one of the accessory products in our store here, and you can make a purchase all on your own, without even engaging with one of our employees.” Bridger explained.
The classic wood tables used in every Apple store line the marble floors of the commuter hub.
The south side features accessories rooms and demo rooms, where 15-minute quick sessions make learning convenient while on the go. Apple also offers one to one training for $99 a year, with unlimited classes.
The north end has two Genius Bars plus repair center for advice. Like other stores, the Genius Bar provides technical support and workshop classes to help you discover and understand the features of your gadget.
Like all of Apple's stores, the new digs are set up as a place of learning to explore Apple products along who can guide you in your purchases and get you up and running before you walk out of the store.
The mega-brand is sure to get lots of foot-traffic, with some 750,000 people passing through Grand Central each day and over 1,000,000 people during the holidays.
Demographics listed on Grand Central Station's website show that an average 7,500 people an hour pass the corner of 42nd and Vanderbilt Avenue, making it one of the busiest intersections in the city. It's also a wealthy spot: Fully 50 percent of its commuters' household incomes are over $100,000, and 20 percent are over $200,000. Office workers in the neighborhood earn a combined $11.3 billion a year.
Restricted by the landmark status, the store is not squared off like other locations, but open to the roaming public.
For this reason, hours will flow with the terminal’s hours of operation, open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. They'll also be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve, for you last minute shoppers.
You're sure to be greeted with plenty of help as you walk up the balcony stairs on the East side of the main terminal. 315 people have been hired, bringing the total number of Apple employees in the greater New York area to 4,000. There are five Apple store in New York City.
The store may look squeaky clean, but the opening comes with some blemishes. New York City’s comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, has launched an investigation looking into whether the MTA gave Apple a "sweetheart" deal. According to the New York Post, Apple will lease the space for about $800,000 the first year -- and is the only retailer among 100 or so in MTA’s Grand Central Terminal not required to make revenue-sharing payments to the landlord.
Apple reportedly gave the previous occupant, Metrazur Restaurant $5 million to vacate early.
Apple recently renovated the Fifth Avenue store and is in the process of expanding its SoHo location. The other two locations in New York city are on the Upper West Side and on 14th St.
Will you be waiting in line when the store opens Friday?
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