It may sound like the definition of #firstworldproblems, but some residents of New York’s Upper East Side aren’t happy that they’re about to get a gorgeous new Apple Store on their doorstep, according to a petition.
In fact, they’re mad as hell — and they’re not gonna take it anymore!
As we reported recently, Apple is currently planning to add a new iconic retail store to its already impressive list of NYC real estate properties, with the conversion of a beautiful former bank building and art gallery dating back to 1921. Located at 940 Madison Ave., the 9,000-square-foot building (along with a handy vault in the basement) is set to open in late 2015 — unless protesters have their way, that is.
What are the protesters rebelling about? Well, to quote Marlon Brando’s character in The Wild One, “What have you got?”
In a long laundry list of complaints, the Upper East Siders describe the upcoming store as “fundamentally the wrong store in the wrong place.” In particular, they are concerned about “long lines of customers, as has happened at other Apple stores,” the arrival of “mobs” of would-be iPhone buyers, the disruption of delivery vans, and the nuisance of people “camping out” to be the first to get their hands on the latest Apple product:
“At each Apple ‘launch’ of a new ‘i’ product, people have lined up for days in advance, with chairs, sleeping bags, clothing, and food packages, to be the ‘first’ to buy the new product. Apple ‘i’ products are rapidly becoming a cult phenomenon. (There is now an ‘iPhone 6 Mini’ on the way.)”
Even seemingly positive benefits of Apple Stores, such as free classes and concerts, provoke ire. “To attract more customers, the Apple stores hold regularly scheduled daily workshops and other events, such as classes on the use of its movies, creation of ‘icloud’ accounts, and development of soft-wear [sic] programs,” the complaint reads. “In a world that is becoming covered in code, there is no telling how extensively Apple will develop in the future, or at what expense to its ‘neighbors.'”
On the live music front, the critics note how, “With no announcement, or permit, an in-store rock concert was recently held one evening at the Apple Prince Street store, and it attracted hundreds of teen-agers [sic] screaming for the band.”
Then it’s on to complaints about the actual building itself, with shock and disgust at the fact that “the flagpole attached to the building will now not display a flag but instead will have a huge banner with the Apple logo.” Mud is also flung at Apple for apparently beginning interior construction work before any of the required permits were issued.
“When issued, Apple then failed to have any permit displayed on the building or sidewalk fence, as required by both the Building Code and the Landmark Commission Rules, and as required by the permits themselves. Complaints about these violations were made and Apple’s contractor was forced to post permits,” the complainants write.
The accusations then end with the group likening a new Apple Store to McDonald’s, asking if “a large eat-in and take-out fast food store on the corner of Madison Avenue and 74th Street, would that ever happen? No way! It would never be permitted to open its doors! Why should Apple?”
So far, the petition has gained 325 signatures, although organizer George Osborne says he expects to reach 500 signatures soon. While the group has no intention of bringing a criminal public nuisance proceeding against Apple, it is planning to stage a sidewalk demonstration in front of the future store entrance on East 74th Street — “perhaps a few hours each Saturday.”
You can read the whole complaint against “teen-agers”, “rock concert[s]” and “soft-wear programs” here (.pdf).