By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
August 1, 2010

A raucous opening Friday for the company’s first retail presence in the city of Brotherly Love

One of the differences between Boston, where I was born, and Philadelphia, where I worked for a year in ’70s, is that Philadephians envy New York City and Bostonians just hate it.

Another difference is that Boston has had an Apple Store — the largest in the U.S. — for more than two years. Until last week, Philadelphia had none. (New York, of course, has four.)

Rumors that Apple (AAPL) was going to build a store in center city Philadelphia have been circulating since 2004, according to ifoAppleStore‘s Gary Allen. But it wasn’t until mid-2009 that the site was nailed down: 1607 Walnut Street, between Rittenhouse Square and Broad Street and a dozen blocks from the Liberty Bell.

There are several YouTube videos of the grand opening Friday afternoon, one by a guy who claims this was his 22nd Apple Store opening, and one from across the street that makes it look like there were more screaming Apple employees than customers.

But the best video — the one that gives you the best feel for how enthusiastically Philadelphians greeted their new store — was the footage shot by Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, the city’s most famous Apple blogger. He got a press tour shortly before the doors opened and reports that inside it was just another spacious Apple Store.

“But outside,” he writes, “it was truly a sensation. People were lined up down the block, around the corner, and down the next block. Hooting and hollering, cheering and high-fives. There was a decent-sized crowd of people across the street. For a store that sells computers and phones. Crazy — especially when you think about where Apple was 10 years ago.”

. You can see his video here or below the fold.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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