Where will Apple fall?

Where will Apple fall?
Sam Ferri

One byte-sized rumor about an Apple store coming to Brooklyn sparked a borough-wide fit of drooling as iMac lovers fantasized about caressing Steve Jobs’s latest products without having to leave the borough.

There’s nothing like a new computer store — and not just any computer store, but an Apple flagship! — to get computer geeks excited.

The stir began on Sept. 13, when Racked.com, a retail Web site, posted an “exclusive,” claiming with certainty that Apple was going to open its fourth New York City location in Brooklyn.

“Brace yourself,” read the hyperventilating post. “Apple is scouring Brooklyn, seeking a home in the 718 area code.”

Gothamist followed with an ensuing post from a woman calling herself “Dana Hemphill” and claiming to be an “Aplle Northeastern Representative for Retail Sales.” (The misspelling was hers, not ours, so take her post with a grain of silicon.)

“We are currently in negotiation to open our 1st retail location in Brooklyn, NY on Atlantic Avenue, not far from Court Street,” wrote the poster. “I am not located in NYC, but hopefully our store should up and running by the second quarter of 2008.”

Alas, a call to Apple headquarters turned up no Hemphills (and no Aplle representatives of any kind). A spokeswoman for Apple scoffed at the notion that anyone should take a posting on a blog seriously.

“People do interesting things all the time, but if I were you, I wouldn’t be taking that as confirmation,” said Amy Barney, an Apple (not Aplle) spokeswoman.

Even so, in a city where Manhattan already has an Apple store in SoHo and another on Fifth Avenue — for God’s sake, even Staten Island has one! — the rumors have credibility.

Indeed, one former Apple store employee, who would only speak on the condition of anonymity, told The Brooklyn Paper that there’s been talk of a Brooklyn shop for at least a year.

“A lot of the higher-ups were asking us ‘cool kids’ what area of Brooklyn we thought would be best [a year ago],” she said. “I thought either a small store on Bedford Avenue or a store in Park Slope.”

The bloggers agreed, bandying about possible sites for Brooklyn’s own enormous cube of a building on Smith Street, in DUMBO, Downtown Brooklyn, and Williamsburg.

Noticeably absent from the initial report was the ground-floor retail space at One Hanson Place, also known as the Williamsburgh Savings Bank tower. Just imagine — sexy techies presiding over the Genius Bar! Product displays that make even Luddites drool for Nanos!

Sadly, a spokeswoman for Dermot Company, which owns the Fort Greene landmark, quashed those hopes.

Wherever it is and whenever it opens, Apple users are awaiting the store’s rumored arrival with all the frenzied excitement of the release of a new version of Safari (calm down; we’re only speaking metaphorically).

“It would be great having close access to software, support, and impulse-buying that a Brooklyn Apple Store would provide,” said John Niedermeyer, a Carroll Gardens resident and devoted iMac user, who soon began to sound like one of those iMac commercials. “It’s more than a machine, because it carries my work, my photos, my music — everything important to me that isn’t living and breathing. Oh, and it just works.”

The company does have a cult-like following. Athena Schindelheim, a Williamsburg resident and yet another diehard Mac user, tried to deconstruct the company’s allure.

“They have a very hip sensibility, and they are tapped into the artistic community and that has a cool cache to it,” said Schindelheim.