"The store is in full view and completely ready for the grand opening. The store occupies three floors, each about 40 feet wide, and the ground floor about 85 feet deep (the second and third floors are about 50 feet deep). Most spectacularly, the front 35-feet of the store spans three-stories, occupied by the most complex and immense glass staircase ever built, spiral or otherwise.
The outside of the store is completely devoid of the usual Apple architectural branding, except for a black metal, cut-out logo hanging from a post, just like the SoHo store. But the huge windows on the ground floor allow a view into the store from both the adjacent sidewalk and from any point in the surrounding neighborhood. There are double-door entrancees on both the 14th St. and 9th Ave. sides of the building, nearest the corner.
Inside, the usual features are present: stone flooring, back-lit wall graphics, white ceiling, and wood display tables. The ground floor is simply computer display space, while software, book and accessory shelving is visible on the second floor. The third floor has ceiling lights in a circular pattern, indicating that a Creative Bar is just beneath it. No doubt the Genius Bar is up there, too.
The spiral glass staircase uses a very thick and well-reinforced circular core, upon which the outer sidewalls are attached. From there, the treads and landings are attached,. The staircase rises 14 treads to a landing, then another 11 treads to the second floor. It duplicates this pattern to the third floor. An elevator is around an adjacent corner, just out of view.
Interestingly, the location of the elevator is just forward of the second and third levels, so a glass bridge was constructed on those levels to connect the floor to the elevator lobby.
Apple is calling this store the largest in New York City, although if you tally up the retail floor square-footage (7,200 s.f.), it seems like it has less display space than Fifth Avenue or SoHo. The footage is less because the second and third levels don't occupy the entire footprint of the building, just the rear 50 feet or so.
For the record— it's cold! There were flurries while I took these photos, and even with gloves, several layers of clothes and a heavy jacket, I was freezing.
The press event is at 11 a.m. on Thursday, so I'll be back out documenting whatever happens at the store."
Additional photos are available via ifo's photo gallery. Gary will also be continuously updating his 14th Street Grand Opening Report through Friday's 6:00 p.m. opening. The exact address of the store is 401 W 14th Street. Apple has promised complimentary commemorative T-shirts and "other special surprises while they last" to customers attending the grand opening.
Update: Apple in a press release issued Thursday at noon Eastern time said: "The Apple Store West 14th Street is Appleâs first three-story store with two floors dedicated to products and a third dedicated to services, including a 46-foot Genius Bar and specially designed areas for workshops and personal training. The Apple Store West 14th Street also introduces Pro Labs where customers can receive free, in-depth training on Appleâs industry-leading pro applications including Final Cut Pro.
The knowledgeable staff at the Apple Store West 14th Street includes more than 175 highly trained Mac Specialists, Mac Geniuses and Creatives who are ready to share their expertise in video editing, digital photography, music production and more. The team of Creatives at West 14th Street will begin leading free multi-session Pro Lab series in January, offering personalized instruction and hands-on experience for customers who want to take their music, video and photography skills to the next level."