After two years of renovation, Apple's New York City flagship location has reopened, and CEO Tim Cook was on site to open the doors and help welcome in crowds for the launch of the iPhone 11 at the bigger and better retail outlet.
Apple Fifth Avenue has been closed since 2017, and the two-year-long renovation period included structural additions and modifications, design changes and a replacement of the iconic glass cube. Demolition of the glass monolith is believed to have cost Apple $2 million alone.
The store has reopened to coincide with the launch of the iPhone 11 and the Apple Watch Series 5, with Cook performing the ceremonial door opening. Usually, Cook performs launch day meet-and-greets at Apple Palo Alto, but the Fifth Avenue store reopening was big enough to warrant a trip to New York this year.
Apple's Senior Vice President of Retail + People, Deirdre O'Brien, was also on location, helping to open the store doors and to welcome in the crowds. Marketing executives Phil Schiller and Greg Joswiak were also in attendance, according to Traced, Inc..
While it still resides in a below-grade (underground) location, Apple Fifth Avenue no longer feels like a walled-off basement. New lighting elements called "sky lenses" —
large stool-like skylights with stainless steel cladding — protrude from the ground and pour light into the store below, while in-store LED lighting shifts its temperature according to time of day.
Additional architectural changes include a lower floor and higher ceiling, with much of the new space resulting from a reclaimed underground garage that sat below the store, reports New York Magazine. The plaza itself was also raised to afford extra headroom inside.
Excited onlookers were quick to share their reactions on Twitter, snapping photos of both the iconic glass cube as well as Cook himself.
Apple fans had begun lining up yesterday at retail locations worldwide. Fans often spend the night outside of Apple Stores, braving the elements, just to be one of the first to own a newly launched iPhone.
Updated with additional information and photos.