When the Upper West Side Apple store was unveiled two years ago, it was heralded as a true architectural achievement — “a composition as austerely purposeful as a classic Greek temple,” said one particularly excited reviewer. The clean lines of the glass temple and the sweeping curve at the top made it almost instantly iconic.

But now, the glory appears to be fading.

Back in May, the store was vandalized overnight — it looked at first like two bullet holes had pierced the glass in the front. Police, however, said no bullets had been fired and didn’t elaborate on the cause. Apple put up some sticky paper where the glass was apparently removed, and then slapped on some sort of black paper or paneling. And that 20-foot black band-aid has stayed up for more than two months now. Staffers we talked to had no idea when the glass windows might be replaced — “they don’t tell us anything” they both said — and Apple’s corporate media people didn’t get back to us when we asked. For a company so obsessed with its clean perfect design, it’s strange that Apple seems okay to leave it looking like a patched pair of (see-through) jeans. Now vandals/graffiti-artist-wannabes have started to scratch away at the black paper, making rudimentary designs and lines.

And the black panels aren’t the only sign of chaos on the corner of 67th Street and Broadway. The sidewalk outside the store has attracted numerous vendors — including a guy who sells knock-off Apple cases and accessories and a couple of vendors selling hats and scarves. It’s becoming a colorful little Bedouin village out there. The vendors all huddle close to the Apple Store to bask in the warm glow of one of the few successful retail enterprises on the Upper West Side.

Come to think of it, for the first time the store actually seems to be blending into the neighborhood.


    1. Chip Joyce says:

      My guess is that the sunlight was blindingly bright for people going up and down the circular stairs, and this was a shade to prevent it. Notice how the black cover was removed in late fall, when the sunlight angle lowered significantly.