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Apple Nation: Mac Fans, Red Sox Open Boston Store

The opening of Apple's largest U.S. retail space, in Boston, drew Mac fans, Red Sox players, a member of Aerosmith, and even a Windows Vista supporter, who said he was there because he likes standing in long lines.

Apple cut the ribbon on its largest U.S. retail store to date, opening a 20,000 square-foot, three-floor behemoth on Boylston Street in Boston, on Thursday, May 15.

Apple Store Boston

(click image for larger view)

The new Apple store on Boylston St. in Boston is the Mac maker's largest in the U.S.

View the entire Apple Boston gallery.

As was the case last December, when the West 14th Street warehouse story opened in New York City, the Boston site drew a big crowd. The first Apple enthusiasts staked their places in line Wednesday night, ahead of Thursday's scheduled 6:00PM opening. Maybe a dozen people waited overnight in temperatures that dipped to the 40s. By 1:30 PM there were about 70 people in line, but hundreds more filed in during the afternoon.

At 6:00, Apple employees in bright-colored t-shirts pushed open the doors and enthusiastically began welcoming the crowd in batches.

Rumors that had been circulating all day started materializing. Boston Red Sox players Jason Varitek, Coco Crisp, and Julio Lugo entered the store in the first hours. Later, Jonathan Papelbon and Mike Lowell passed through. Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton came early, right after the doors opened.

But other than the free t-shirts, first-day bragging rights, and the unconfirmed chance of eyeing a celebrity ball player, or rock star, why were so many compelled to wait for hours -- some overnight?

The reasons are mostly social. Listening to people in line revealed that the wait was something like being in a giant, non-virtual chatroom:

  • "It's always worth it in the end. I'm trainspotting for Apple." -- Matt Duffy, Glasgow, Scotland.

  • "I proposed to my fiance at the Fifth Avenue (New York) opening." --Steve Raposa, of Attleboro, MA.

  • "I'm taking a year off and efficiently wasting my life." -- James Shapiro, Newton, MA.

  • "I was first in line at the Omaha [Apple store] opening." -- Monte Nutzman, Des Moines, Iowa.

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