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Harry Potter Fans Line Up for Lincoln Center Premiere

By Ben Fractenberg | July 11, 2011 3:47pm | Updated on July 11, 2011 8:53pm

UPPER WEST SIDE — Hundreds of Harry Potter packed into Dante Park across from Lincoln Center on Monday for the premiere of the final installment in the series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 2."

Some fans waited as long as six days — sleeping in the park on Columbus Ave. between 63rd and 64th streets — for a chance at a front-row view of their favorite actors as they walked the red carpet Monday evening.

Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry Potter, thanked the fans for patience after arriving on the red carpet.

"Thank you so much for being here, for all your support," he said. "I will miss you all."

Co-stars Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) waved to fans before walking the carpet and giving their own thanks.

Tom Felton, who plays Draco Malfoy, crossed the street before walking the carpet, taking time to sign books of people who did not get wristbands.

"Tom, we've been waiting here all day," some fans yelled as he crossed the street.

Arina Ghosh, 18, came to New York from Alabama and slept in the park for two days. She said while she was frustrated over not getting on the red carpet she was still glad to have made the journey.

"This is the best moment of my life," she said. "Besides meeting JK Rowling."

While more than a hundred fans were lucky enough to get invited to stand up on the Lincoln Center steps for the red carpet, other fans cursed their fate after event organizers handed out armbands to see the stars close-up without any apparent consideration for how long they'd been waiting.

Staffers doled out armbands granting access to stand on the red carpet to "people getting here two hours ago," said an angry Tanya Mignone, 23, of Queens, who set up camp near Lincoln Center three days ago. "We've been out here dying of heat. I think it's really, really messed up."

Mingnone was one of the lucky few behind the barricades at Columbus Ave. from 63rd to 64th streets to eventually get a wrist band, unlike one woman who had been standing next to her for three days and flew in from Puerto Rico for a chance.

"Please!" some fans begged as a man in a black suit and a Warner Bros. lanyard around his neck attached the bands to fans' wrists in an apparent haphazard manner. Fans formed a line and were told to write numbers on their arms showing what order they were in. But then event staff handed out the bracelets at different points in the line without going in order.

Warner Bros. did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Other fans talked about making news friends.

“It was like a giant Harry Potter sleepover,” said Natasha Tsakiris, 21, who flew in from Toronto over the weekend for the premiere and slept in the park Sunday night. "This has been like a 10-year dream."

Friends Bridget Clare, 20, Jenifer Krumm, 21, Christine Krumm, 19, and Allysone Pereira, 15, who hail from cities across the country, became friends during the premier of the last movie. The group waited six full days before learning that their hopes of front-row views of the red carpet gala might have been in vain.

“They got our hopes up so many times,” said Jennifer Krumm, who said organizers told them they would not be allowed up close to watch the red carpet. “We hope after six days something comes out of it."

But some in the park said there were a few unexpected positive surprises in the run-up to the premiere.

Felton stopped by the park Sunday night in his car and delivered several boxes of pizza.

“It was chaos,” Kristen McGovern, 26, said.

Some other fans were relieving the series before seeing the final instalment.

Joshua Cajas, 14, from Queens was rereading the "Deathly Hallows" while he waited for the premiere.

“You’ve got to see the stars before the movie,” said Cajas.

Others said it was the end of an era.

"It's going to be brilliant, but it's surprising it's over" said Daniel Coughlin, 19, who flew from Ireland for the premiere. "It's like the last decade of my life flew by.