Grand Central’s Killer App

This morning, we got a sneak peek at Apple’s newest retail masterpiece, an open-air, balcony-hovering store spread over 23,000 square feet in Grand Central Terminal. The company’s fifth New York City location opens officially on Friday at 10 a.m., and, one imagines, will be instantly jammed with iPad testers and e-mail checkers. But the store has pulled a few tricks to cut down on waiting time and crowds. Shoppers can use the Apple Store app to order ahead from their phones and pick up purchases straight from the cash-wrap; alternatively, they can swipe product bar codes with their iPhone to make purchases, dodging the line entirely. (You’ll also find credit-card machines at the end of iPad-and-MacBook-packed tables on the east balcony.) Here, you see the view from the terminal’s east balcony overlooking the main concourse. Photo: Danny Kim

The Grand Central store includes two personal setup rooms, where Apple specialists will activate devices and transfer old data. Photo: Danny Kim

The north balcony area is perhaps the store’s most impressive, lit by the terminal’s century-old Beaux-Arts chandeliers and affording overhead views of the main concourse. The two Genius Bars are stationed here, as are a short table with iPads and four plushy stools for kids. Photo: Danny Kim

The east balcony entryway, just off the subway escalators, is designated by three glowing Apple logos. Photo: Danny Kim

The store affords views of the terminal’s starry ceiling above and main concourse below. Apple hired 350 employees for this location. Photo: Danny Kim

Accessories get their own section here, including speakers, cases, and headphones. Photo: Danny Kim

A view of the main store area, spanning the east balcony. Mac computers are on the left wing and handheld products (iPads, iPods, iPhones, and the like) are on the right. Photo: Danny Kim

Grand Central’s Killer App