NYC’s new landmark: The Apple Store


Philip Elmer-DeWitt is a senior editor at Fortune.

It's the Big Apple's fifth most-photographed location, according to a Cornell study

In a front-page story in Monday's Philadelphia Inquirer, the paper's architecture critic, Inga Saffron, leads with a scene in which a pair of Manhattan tourists dash out of a waiting taxi to snap photos of Apple's (aapl) Fifth Avenue store. She tells the story to Peter Bohlin, the architect who originally sketched the big glass cube with paper and pencil for Steve Jobs.

"I hear that happens a lot,"  Bohlin chuckles.

Indeed it does. According to an analysis of 35 million Flickr images undertaken by Cornell students on a university supercomputer, the Fifth Avenue Apple Store is the fifth most photographed landmark in the world's most photographed city -- and the 28th most photographed landmark in the world.

The study, available as a [PDF], was actually presented nearly a year ago at the World Wide Web Conference in Madrid (see the Cornell Chronicle.) But it's been rediscovered in the past few days by several New York City blogs, including the Gothamist.

None of this hurts Apple's well-polished brand image, of course. But there's a risk for Steve Jobs. Were the cube to be granted official New York City landmark status, he'd never be able to tear it down. (Unlike his unloved Woodside, Calif., mansion. See here and here.)

New York City's five most photographed landmarks are:

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  1. Empire State Building
  2. Times Square
  3. Rockefeller Center
  4. Grand Central Terminal
  5. Fifth Ave. Apple Store

Below: The full worldwide grid.

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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