Thursday was a historic day for wizards and muggles alike, as the world’s first Harry Potter flagship store opened in Manhattan.
The store’s opening was delayed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the crowds were ready to fly in on their broomsticks as soon as the doors opened on Thursday.
The store, which is located next to the Flatiron Building, has plenty of merchandise for sale, as well as virtual reality experiences, an inclusive scavenger hunt, and the opportunity to sip on some “butter beer.”
“I’ve been here since about 7pm yesterday,” a man in line at the store told DailyMail.com. “I got here around 5:30 this morning,” one woman added.
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The official flagship store with Warner Bros. Harry Potter theme opens today in New York City
People queued for hours, some even at night, to get into the store on opening day
The store will house the largest collection of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts products in the United States
Fans queuing outside got a glimpse of the store through the windows
“It’s really nice to see everyone and come together as the Potter community that we are,” said one woman in line.
“We’re just here to see our friends, we’re here to experience this great new store…and we’re just here to see our fan family, our community,” said one performer in line, excited about attending. from MinaLima’s graphic design team, who worked on all the films.
A line in front of the store could be seen running in every direction down the block, with plenty of umbrellas because of the rain and masks as security patrolled the line.
This banner announced the opening of the official store, which is located next to the Flatiron Building
Hundreds of people appeared to be queuing for the store before it opened its doors this Thursday morning donderdag
The store will feature over 20,000 square feet and three sprawling floors, giving witches and wizards everything they need
In anticipation of the opening, people were queuing in both directions around the block on Thursday
These fans came online at 7pm last night and are from Maryland, California, New Jersey, Connecticut and New York
The store is three stories high and covers a whopping 20,000 square feet. Most days it is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sundays are limited to 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“Whether the Harry Potter fan who has ‘everything’ is looking for something new, or someone just wants to pop in to browse and soak up the atmosphere – there’s something for everyone,” said Doran Finneran, sales- and experience manager, Market overview before opening day.
There are about 1,300 different items for sale in the store, ranging from cheap stationary to expensive robes. Some items will also be exclusive to the New York City store, such as Harry Potter shirts featuring NYC-inspired artwork.
Kids also lined up in their best Harry Potter costumes and masks to get into action on opening day
These fans pose as they queue in front of the Harry Potter store on Thursday morning
Hundreds of fans lined up outside the store to soak up the Harry Potter atmosphere on the first day of opening
At the lower level of the store, consumers can customize a number of items, including wands, robes, and an acceptance later to Hogwarts.
Karl Durrant, vice president and general manager of Warner Bros. Worldwide Retail Destinations, says the decision to open this store in New York was made in part because of its affiliate Fantastic Beasts franchise, which is set in the city.
“This New York location makes sense for many reasons, but a connection to Fantastic Beasts was one of the reasons and the incredible fan base that lives here,” said Durrant.
There are little nods to the franchise throughout the store, such as Lord Voldemort’s snake, Nagini, hissing over shoppers in the basement.
Inside the store, employees could be seen preparing for the big day on Thursday on
The rain did little to deter people from the store’s opening day, with people waiting for hours in the inclement weather
The line for the store wound around the sidewalk and to the edge of the street as the excitement was all around
These Harry Potter fans wore robes and masks as they prepared to enjoy the shop on day one
Shoppers and staff are required to wear masks in the store, which is 50 percent open due to COVID-19, which is 250 people.
The ‘touch’ elements of the store will remain in use and will be cleaned regularly.
There will also be a virtual queuing system to prevent overcrowding in the store and outside the store for those waiting to get in.
Consumers who download an app can go on a virtual scavenger hunt in the store, collecting nine keys for a password, which a shopper can score a free gift from cashiers.
Two virtual reality experiences are planned for the summer, one called “Chaos at Hogwarts” and one called “Wizards Take Flight.”
“We’re really excited to bring some magic into people’s lives,” Durrant added.
While many were excited to experience the magic for themselves, some also took to Twitter to express their dismay at the wait to enter the store on Thursday.
“Note, also waiting in line in the pouring rain in front of the Harry Potter shop to give you access is not what I would ideally like to do at the moment. I only have 3 hours to go. Possibly. It could be double,’ IngyBingy tweeted.
They later added, “I’m officially throwing in the towel for Harry Potter. I have a feeling that our number will only be after 6 hours of waiting so far 2 hours. DONE.’
Despite some complaints about the wait, the day passed without significant protests.
The inside of the store is full of Easter eggs, just like the outside of the store
The Harry Potter shop is open most days from 10am to 9pm and on Sundays from 11am to 7pm for fans of all ages
JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, has come under fire for her controversial comments about the transgender community.
In June 2020, she tweeted about an op-ed that didn’t use the word “women” when talking about people who menstruate.
She responded to the comment by tweeting, “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex is not real, the lived reality of women worldwide is obliterated. I know and love transgender people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to talk meaningfully about their lives. It is not hatred to speak the truth.’
She then tweeted “TERF Wars,” an acronym for radical feminist trans exclusion.
Since then, many transgender rights advocates have had their eyes on Rowling — though it seemed unlikely her comments would dampen the popularity of her brand’s latest venture.