By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
March 12, 2011

The crowd of nearly 1,200 customers filled the FAO Schwartz plaza, wound down 58th Street, ran up Madison Ave. and across 59th Street all the way back to Fifth Ave.

The turnout for Apple’s (AAPL) iPad 2 was huge — bigger than any I’d seen for a product launch. An hour before the doors were scheduled to open at the company’s flagship Fifth Avenue store, it was too large and fluid for me to make an accurate headcount. But according to Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster, his team counted 1,190 people in line at the store at 5 p.m., compared with 730 when the original iPad launched last year.

For a video tour of the line, click here.

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