Volume 20 Issue 7 | June 29 - July 5, 2007

Downtown Express photo by Elisabeth Robert

Customers lined up Wednesday outside the Soho Apple store to buy the new iPhone Friday night.

AIDS charity, pot heads, others line up for iPhone

Half a dozen people pressed their folding chairs against Soho’s Apple store, milking the last bits of morning shade before temperatures soared into the mid-90’s on Wednesday. Smoking marijuana, sipping iced coffee, juice or beer, they hoped to be among the first to buy the $500 iPhone when it is released on Friday, June 29 at 6 p.m.

Two who refrained from controlled substances, Noelle Esquire and Sarah Murray, representatives for the “Keep A Child Alive” charity, led the line. The women had been camped out since Tuesday morning, handing out rubber bracelets and wearing t-shirts to raise money for African children with AIDS. They said the manager of the Apple Store was bringing them bottled water and letting them use the bathroom.

Neither had any interest in the new cell phone/mini-computer itself. “We’re just taking advantage of this as a publicity appearance,” said Esquire.

Immediately in line behind the girls sat a group of men who sold their spots online. Hair rigid with sweat and grease, one who said his name was Joe Bird smoked a joint, sitting with his friends by a tinsel Christmas tree decorated with condoms.

“Get it? It’s a rubber tree plant,” said Bird, 40, adding that Budweiser was the unofficial sponsor of his venture. He then picked the remnants of a joint off the ground and offered this reporter a hit. He said he had plenty more in his duffel bag for his friends.

Bird posted the iPhone on eBay. His buddies, a real estate broker who said his name was Tom Ryan, 40, and a freelance photojournalist “Curt,” posted their place in line on Craigslist, selling their spot for $500. “It’s a joint venture between five neighborhood friends,” said Ryan, not realizing the double meaning.

The gang seemed happy and didn’t mind the summer heat.

“I can’t complain,” said Bird. “I gotta sit here in Soho, lay back, relax and watch the hot girls go by for four days to make a couple of G’s,” he added and then leaned back to reveal a t-shirt that read, “Crime pays.”

— Joe Orovic

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