By Madina Toure
About 1,000 people showed up within the first hour of the opening of the first-ever Apple Store in Queens at the Queens Center mall Saturday morning.
Store employees shouted “Queens!” multiple times and hugged and high-fived customers as they were allowed to enter the store. Roughly 300 to 400 people were browsing the new store at a time.
The store, which is located on the second level of the mall, located at 90-15 Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst, will include support services at the Genius Bar, personal setup, workshops and hands-on experience with nearly 140 Apple devices on display.
There were three different lines: one outside the store’s door, one at the lobby area and another at the far end of the mall.
Williamsburg resident Luis Rosario arrived at the mall at 6 a.m., the first person on line.
“The mall wasn’t really open yet, but I just walked in,” Rosario said.
Borough residents said they were excited about the new store, noting its proximity to their neighborhoods and saying they would no longer have to go into Manhattan.
Hillary Jaramillo, 21, a Woodside resident, has been going to the Apple stores since 2007 and said the store is very attentive to her various needs.
Having an Apple store that is closer to home will make things even easier, she said.
“It’s just easier for me to get here,” Jaramillo said.
Forest Hills resident Surendra Karnavat, 62, said that he is ready to travel anywhere if he has any technology-related problems. But he said that the new store is a boon for people who live in the area.
“It should help everybody in the local area,” Karnavat said.
Although Audrey Wang, 27, of Jackson Heights, usually buys her products online, she acknowledged that having an Apple store in the borough is beneficial.
“I feel good about it but it probably won’t affect my daily life,” Wang said.
The first 1,000 customers received a free commemorative T-shirt.
The new store is only Apple’s second location outside of Manhattan. It now has eight locations in New York City.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour