Video: Thousands queue up for Apple’s Grand Central store

December 9, 2011, 2:52 PM UTC

And hundreds more crowd the terminal’s main lobby to see what the fuss is about

Line-goers (middle left) pushing through the onlookers. Photo: PED

What if Apple (AAPL) opened a new store and nobody came? We may never know. Thousands turned out early Friday for the opening of its fifth retail store in Manhattan, this one perched on the balconies above the main lobby of Grand Central Terminal.

The company promised free T-shirts for the first 4,000 visitors. By 11:00 a.m., an hour after the barricades came down, 1,000 customers had made their way up the marble staircase into the store and another 500 were still queued up, waiting to get in.

By 12:30, according to Apple PR, 4,000 people had passed through the store.

Videos below. See also our walk through the store, shot two days earlier, and our media tour report posted here.

Commuters watch the first visitors enter the store (11 seconds).

The line in the terminal’s Eastern Passageway 45 minutes before the opening (2 minutes).