New York City’s New Tourist Destination: Apple’s Fifth Avenue Flagship Store

The main staircase in Apple's newly reopened store in New York City

By Anna Breuer on 27 September 2019
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Apple’s flagship Fifth Avenue Store, with its iconic glass cube entrance, reopened to customers and visitors alike with the launch of the Apple iPhone 11 and 11 Pro following a two-year renovation and expansion.  Today it is the largest Apple store in the world.

The entrance may still feature 15 panes of glass and a hanging illuminated Apple logo but the similarities to the old incarnation of the store end there.

Above ground, 62 circular lights dot the plaza and surround the cube: nine on each side of the glass cube rise out of the ground forming what Apple calls sky lenses that allow passers-by to peer into the store.  At night, they illuminate the plaza.

Apple's shiny stainless steel elevator

Apple’s circular stainless steel elevator

The plaza on Fifth Avenue has been transformed into an area where visitors can take a moment and reflect, thanks to two seating areas with round-cornered stone benches and honey locust trees that serve as borders on 58th and 59th Streets.

Entering the new store one descends via a new spiral staircase or a cylindrical elevator with a shaft of shiny stainless steel and a glass roof that offers views of the immediate skyline.  The staircase is designed with 43 cantilevered metal stair treads that support a floating glass handrail. Above it, a backlighted ceiling combines natural and artificial light, changing to match the sunlight throughout the day.

The store’s interior makes the visitor feel as if he has not left the outdoors: he is greeted by two rows of indoor trees, natural sunlight, and green walls behind the staircase that serve as a natural backdrop for the Genius Grove. Seating abounds.

The ceiling features circular cutouts that match the skylights in the plaza. The store’s artificial lighting follows the natural pattern of the sun by shifting the color temperature throughout the day.

Some visitors may wish to shop, or at least look at the array of products Apple has put on display.  The store is one very large space lined by Avenues, Apple’s name for the interactive display shelving it uses. There are Avenues dedicated to Apple’s latest products, the Apple iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, as well as a photography Avenue with a backdrop that practically screams selfie.  The store is the first in the world to feature an Avenue dedicated to showcasing the line of AirPods, where AirPods are placed on a musical staff as musical notes from Apple’s Think Different advert.

Staircases on the north and south walls of the store provide access from 58th and 59th Streets. These, however, are mere stairs: for the best experience, the visitor should enter via the glass cube.

Near the north wall is a video wall and Forum that is home to Today at Apple, serving as a stage where Apple hosts performances by musical artists.

The store features two Boardrooms for meetings and private events, an Experience Room that highlights how Apple products and services work together, including a separate area with leather benches and Apple HomePods where one can experience Apple Music. 

The Apple store is open 24 hours a day to all at 787 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, just across the southeastern corner of Central Park.

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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