By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
March 12, 2011

A Russian IT specialist on an “iPad holiday” is the first out the door in New York City

Because Alex Shumiloe didn’t need an AT&T T or Verizon VZ account, his purchase of a pair of white 64GB Wi-Fi+3G iPad 2s Friday could not have been smoother.

So 4 minutes and 29 seconds after he entered Apple’s AAPL Fifth Ave. retail store, he was bounding up the store’s curved staircase — the first person out the doors of the big glass cube and very likely the first paying customer in the world to take possession of Steve Jobs’ newest must-have gadget.

He was immediately besieged by camera-wielding tourists, press photographers and videographers determined to capture him waving a pair of white boxes above his head.

We’d run into Shumiloe in front of the store the night before in a steady rain that looked like it wasn’t going to stop til morning. He was fifth in a line of six and settling in for a long night. He explained that he was a 29-year old IT specialist from Moscow on what he called an “iPad holiday.” He said he used Macs at home, but unfortunately all his IT work was on Microsoft MSFT Windows PCs.

On Friday, with hundreds of onlookers crowding around the entrance of the glass cube and many hundreds more in a long queue waiting to get in, Shumiloe only had a few seconds to talk before he was surrounded by crews from what seemed to be every Russian-speaking TV network in the world.

Tomorrow he plans to sight-see, and then it’s back to Moscow.

Below: More photos from the launch.

Also on Fortune.com:

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

You May Like