This Friday Apple opens its new retail space in New York City's Grand Central Terminal and it is huge. This morning Core77 got a sneak peek of the place, and while we initially thought it would only occupy the area above the stairs on the East Balcony, we were wrong. The 23,000-square-foot space wraps around the north end of the Main Concourse, going all the way to the escalators for those of you familiar with the terminal, and extends into rooms on the south end.
I'd wondered how Apple was going to deal with the lighting issues in the cavern-like Main Concourse, where the terminal's lighting is many stories above the floor; what they've done is outfit the tables with slender LED bars which, whether by design or coincidence, resemble smaller versions of the overhead lighting.
Since the store is located within a bustling train station, it will open at 7am for the convenience of commuters; other train-station-specific touches feature an Express Shopping counter facing the store's entrance, so harried train-takers who don't need to browse can quickly grab exactly what they came for, and special 15-minute Express Classes in using Apple gear are being scheduled around rush hour times.
Then there's Apple's recent push to create an experience where you needn't interact with a store employee if you don't want to, or are simply in a rush. An army of clerks were on hand to give EasyPay demos; I went to video one but it was literally over before I got the camera set up. You pick up an item, scan it with your iPhone/iPod Touch, punch in your iTunes password, then walk out with the thing. That's it. I asked the clerk how they'd prevent theft, and he said someone would check a receipt (presumably a digital one on your device) as you left the store.
With 750,000 people traipsing through Grand Central daily, the Apple Store is expected to draw huge revenue and boost traffic through surrounding businesses. It opens this Friday at (an uncharacteristically late) 10am.
Hit the jump for a few more shots.