My first job (or, the first job that didn’t require me to push a lawn mower or dab zinc oxide on my nose) was in an ad agency perched high above the Plaza on Fifth Avenue. The General Motors Building was (is) one of the most prestigious business addresses in New York City, anchoring the southeast corner of Central Park – directly opposite the fabled Plaza Hotel, and flanked by the Sherry-Netherland Hotel and Bergdorf Goodman. It is a soaring, 50-story skyscraper in vertical stripes of blazing white marble and smoked black glass. Most people will recognize it from countless media images of that corner of the park. The building’s shape and stripes always reminded me of a pack of cigarettes upholstered in seersucker.
One strange thing about this magnificent office tower on the Plaza with all the swanky neighbors: the lobby was a car dealership. Of course, it was the General Motors Building… but it was just bizarre to be walking through this cavernous white marble lobby, surrounded by all these Chevrolets and Buicks and Cadillacs. And it was a working dealership! Eventually, FAO Schwarz took over most of the vast lobby as the flagship of its toy empire, vacating a space across 58th Street that was taken over by Bergdorf Goodman for its Men’s Store.
Another weird bit was the sunken retail space in the wide plaza between the building’s facade and Fifth Avenue. I think it was meant to echo the sunken space at Rockefeller Center (where tourists skate on a rink in the winter). There was an old barber shop down there where I’d go for my regular haircut and shoeshine. I still love old-fashioned barber shops. The person I now entrust my hair to here in LA is not an old-fashioned barber. His name is Atila. Nicest guy. He was the official hairdresser of the punk movement in Hollywood in the 80s. He has hair the color of a robin’s egg, and he must die of boredom granting my unadventurous hair wishes. But that’s another post.
The subterranean retail space of the GM Building on Fifth Avenue where I used to get my haircut was repurposed in 2006 to become the flagship Apple Store in New York. It is accessed by glass stairs or glass elevator through a now-iconic 32-foot glass cube at street level (à la I.M. Pei’s Louvre Pyramide, but worse).
Which brings me, at last, to the topic at hand. A couple of years ago, I invented a brand new cultural activity called Apple Store Selfies. You can do it alone or in a group. As with most things, it is more fun with a friend or two. It is simple. Whenever you find yourself at an Apple Store, anywhere in the world, go to any of the iMacs or MacBooks. Open the PhotoBooth app and take a selfie, saving it to the desktop. Then, open the Mail app and send yourself an email with the photo attached. (Don’t send it to someone else directly; the email will come from a weird numeric email address ARS023.050 or something like that, and will inevitably end up in a spam filter.) I should probably start an Instagram / Twitter hashtag for #applestoreselfies. Feel free to take the initiative.
Here are some of the selfies my friends and I have taken in Apple Stores. Now it’s your turn.
Apple Store Selfies make me happy.
Day 025 #100happydays