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Grand Central Apple Store Doesn't Open on Black Friday, Disappointing Fans

By Jill Colvin | November 25, 2011 11:12am
"I'm totally disappointed," said Kaora Tatsuni, visiting from Japan with his wife, Ayaka Tatsuni, and children aged 5 and 2.
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DNAinfo/Jill Colvin

MIDTOWN — Black Friday shoppers hoping to hit the new Apple store in Grand Central Terminal, were disappointed when the outlet didn't open in time for the nation's biggest retail bonanza, despite rumored plans.

Shoppers descended on Manhattan's retail outlets en masse Friday hoping to score killer deals. But Apple fans of the brand who've been counting down the days said they were disappointed to find the store shuttered as they set about their day.

"I was hoping that it would have been open. It would have been great to see Apple, on Black Friday, in Grand Central Station," said Gramercy's Ed Lovelace, 35, as he was waiting to catch a train.

"That would have been something," he said. 

Construction workers ducking in and out of the store Friday morning confirmed there'd be no Black Friday surprise.

A rendering of the Grand Central Apple store, which is slated to open in the fall 2011.
A rendering of the Grand Central Apple store, which is slated to open in the fall 2011.
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"Not today," said one worker, as he exited the store.

The Apple insider blog, 9to5Mac.com, had reported earlier this month that the company was just days away from opening and was eyeing Nov. 19 as a potential date in order to capture the pre-holiday rush.

Hopes had lingered that it might still open by Friday. But instead, shoppers were greeted with a new light-up billboard, reminiscent of an old-fashioned departure board, announcing the store's arrival soon.

"Apple Store, Grand Central. Arriving Soon," the sign blinks, in a rotating message. "Get your train(ing) here," another reads.

Kaoru Tatsuni, 32, visiting with his family from Japan, said that before he arrived in New York he'd read on an Apple rumors website that a new store was set to grace Grand Central, and had expected to find the doors open.

"I'd hoped so," said Tatsuni, who'd planned to add a new monitor to his growing Apple collection, which already includes an MacBook, iPad, iPod and iPhone. "I'm totally disappointed."

Mark Roberts, 21, who arrived at 4 a.m. from Boston for a day of sightseeing and shopping with friends, said he didn't know about the planned new store, but was surprised to see it shuttered, too.

"It's surprising to me that they haven't opened yet because today seems to be a very good idea," said the native Brit, on his first Black Friday in the U.S.

But not everyone was missing out on the opening in the landmark terminal.

Eve, 69, and Steven, 65, a couple visiting from Toronto, Canada, who declined to give their last name, said they were more interested in spending the Thanksgiving weekend with their daughter than shopping for Black Friday deals.

Did they care the store was closed?

"No, not really," Eve said.

Renderings of the store released by the MTA show an open-air design, with Apple's signature light wood tables and chairs blending in almost seamlessly with the pale stone and chandelier-lit background.

Unlike many of its existing locations, there will be no glass walls and a single glowing "Apple" logo will beckon commuters to the store.

According to MTA documents, the tech company's deal for the space, inked in June, required a $5 million payment to former tenant Metrazur to terminate its lease early, and a yearly rent which spikes to $1.043 million in the final year of their 10-year deal.

An Apple spokesman did not immediately respond to request for comment about the new store.

9to5Mac.com is now pointing to Fri., Dec. 9th as the most likely opening date.