Apple Gets Planted in Grand Central Station

Everything is bigger in New York City-the buildings, the crowds, the traffic congestion, and now Apple’s newest retail store. According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple opened a new store in the Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan, New York last week at 10am on Friday, December 9th. This makes the fifth Apple store in New York City and one of three-hundred worldwide. It overlooks the main concourse on the east and northeast balconies. According to Apple, 2,500 people awaited the store’s grand opening and had received nearly 4,000 visitors before noon. To date, this is the biggest of Apple’s stores; spanning 23,000 square feet.

While the store itself has all the necessities of your typical Apple store, aesthetically it’s conformed to the style of the historical landmark. One feature very unique to this store would be the fifteen minute” express classes” on the use of Apple’s products. These classes are intended for commuters who are looking to kill time between departures. Also offered through iPhone apps are self-checkout and personal pick-up services for the customers on the go.

Even though Apple is not sharing revenues (unlike other venders in the building) with the Metropolitan Transit Authority- the company owning the Grand Central Terminal- they believe Apple’s presence quadruples rent and will strongly increase foot traffic to other retailers in the same area. Apple is shelling out $180 per square foot over their ten year lease on the space. Apple’s bill for the commercial space also includes paying $5 million to buy out the lease of the prior tenant, $1.1 million for yearly rent, and $2.5 million for construction. This is certainly a big bite for the big apple! The next time you’re experiencing the enormous grandeur of the city that never sleeps, stop by Grand Central and see Apple’s huge new store for yourself!

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All Aboard the Smile Train

Every parent’s dream is to stare down at their perfectly formed newborn baby and coo and murmur every bit of soothing nonsense imaginable, but what if their newborn has a birth defect? It makes the child no less special, but sometimes, the world can be unbelievably cruel. The most common birth defect in the world today is the cleft lip and/or palate, a facial deformity that leaves the lip split and the roof of the mouth with a large hole. One in a thousand children is affected each year in the United States alone. It is believed that in developing countries that 165,000 children are born every year with cleft lip or palate, but this is much harder to determine because these children are often killed moments after birth or abandoned, left to the mercy of wild animals or the elements.

A cleft lip or palate repair surgery is one of the simplest and least expensive to perform, but most of these parents can’t afford to have it done, even though it would mean a better quality of life for their child. However, thanks to the generosity and kind spirit of the people who formed Smile Train, these children have a chance to go to school, to get a job when they get older, and to live a life without ridicule. Smile Train’s mission is to provide free surgeries and rehabilitation for children who cannot afford it any other way.  However, Smile Train cannot do it alone. They rely on the donations from kind people who believe in their cause. For only two hundred and fifty dollars, a child’s life can be changed for the better forever. If you believe in Smile Train’s mission and wish to contribute,  you can donate at SmileTrain.org.