Mourning Steve Jobs: On the scene at the Fifth Avenue Apple store


Image Credit: Adam B. Vary/EW

The Fifth Avenue Apple Store in Manhattan, famously capped with a massive glass cube, is currently covered a white shroud, as if in mourning for the passing of the company’s co-founder and former CEO, Steve Jobs. The cube is actually undergoing renovations, swapping out dozens of smaller glass panels that make up its surface for just 15 larger ones, described with Jobs-ian panache as “seamless” by signs out front. In a way, it serves as a perfect tribute to Jobs’ famously relentless pursuit of elegance, quality, and thoughtful precision.

The other tribute to Jobs growing outside the Fifth Ave. Apple Store is neither elegant nor precise, but I imagine Jobs would still be deeply moved by the spontaneous shrine of flowers, written tributes, and lots and lots of McIntosh apples. (A few even had a bite taken out of them.) Passersby clumped in front of the stone steps hosting the shrine to take pictures (often using Apple products) — that is, when they could elbow room in between the gaggle of reporters (like me) documenting the scene for posterity.


Image Credit: Adam B. Vary/EW

While it could just be a byproduct of the store’s location near Central Park and the 5th Avenue shopping mecca, I was nonetheless impressed and moved by how many foreign tourists were taking the time to stop by the store, snap a photo, and pay their respects. The Apple employees standing outside the entrance to the store (yes, it was still open, 24 hours a day) took in the gathering with wistful smiles, which is all the comment they could offer due to Apple’s policy of employees not speaking with the press. (One Apple employee, a man from Barcelona with an impressive beard, left his own large bouquet of flowers at the shrine, with a note thanking Jobs for “planting the seed” of creativity in him.)

Elsewhere, a mother reminisced about the thousands of photos she’s uploaded online via iPhoto. An elderly man, hunched over with a cane, stopped to read some of the written messages at the shrine, an iPad tucked underneath his arm. A voluble businessman with his tiny dog standing beside him shared with anyone who would listen his thoughts on Jobs’ commitment not just to business and technology, but to the emotional experience of using that technology in our daily lives.


Image Credit: Adam B. Vary/EW

Mostly, though, people remained silent. We’re all used to an outpouring of grief when a luminary of movies, television or music passes away, or an iconic leader, or a sports star. But it is rare indeed when our collective bereavement is due to the loss of someone who invents the tools for those more glamorous celebrities to use to make their stars brighter. Of course, Jobs helped create tools for all of us to feel a bit brighter and more connected. Maybe that’s why so many are so sad about losing someone we’ve usually only seen via the warm pixels of a computer monitor.

Adam on Twitter

Read more:
Barack Obama, Steven Spielberg, Bill Gates and others remember Apple legend Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs in 2005: ‘Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.’
Steve Jobs: Thank Him For…

Comments (37 total) Add your comment
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  • Carrol

    I’m starting to think America has found its Princess Diana..

    • Um

      No. These tributes pop up for well-known (and not-so-well-known) people whenever or however that person dies, and it was done before Diana. Diana’s death was just raised to a level of ridiculous histrionics.

  • maxwell

    Carrol, you are an obvious troll but I feel like replying anyway.

    Steve Jobs was a genius, and inspiration, and a true innovator. He changed the world. He will go down in history as one of the greatest inventors of all time. Your sarcastic comment is disrespectful to a man who just died of cancer 1 day ago. Show some respect and grow up.

    • Clete

      Agree with every word you wrote.

    • Carrol

      Go back to ya coffee beans Maxwell

    • cindy

      Maxwell, what is is disrespect that Carrol showed? Because she compared the adulation of Diana to Steve Jobs? That’s disrespect? Get off your high horse because if someone paid respects to me in the comment that Carrol made, I would be honored. Just because Diana wasn’t an inventor, and was royalty, does not mean that she is any less important in the work she accomplished than what Steve Jobs did for the people. I like Carrol’s reference. She’s spot on about the adulation comparable to Diana. Get over it!!!!

  • Raz

    I hope they take all those apples and give them to the homeless. Steve Jobs would approve, I think.

    • Melly

      I hope so, too :)

  • endo

    My favorite “tribute” is the image people keep posting on Facebook of Apple’s famous “Here’s to the crazy ones…” campaign with the quote attributed to Steve Jobs. Um, yeh, so some copy writer at Chiat/Day wrote that and it was inspired by the works of Jack Kerouac.

    • Charles

      So what?

      • duh

        “So what” endo is trying to point out, I believe, is the mediocity that Jobs always strove to surpass. Here are all these people who continue to repost something, and it’s wrong! Jobs may have been criticized for his perfectionism, but at least he seems to have always tried to be the best, not to mention correct. Unlike the meatheads who won’t let the incorrect attribution from an old Apple campaign die its long overdue death. Jobs must be rolling in his grave — already — to have that thing haunting him yet again.

  • GV

    I am confused are those real apples of the original Apple PCs called McInTosh. Either way is very moving that someone that actually did something get a tribute. Not people that are only famous for music tabloids and reality tv shows. Steve was a true nerd and that gave back to all the so called popular people that get dumber using technology. Truly the revenge of the nerds. RIP Steve.

  • sarah d

    The apples are a smart, sweet touch.

    • Christine

      I know, it’s such a cute, simple gesture.

  • akri

    One more thing….THANK YOU STEVE.

  • nunnya

    It’s hard to imagine life before iPod, iPhone, iPad… I’ve never gotten a package from Apple that did not bring a smile to my face… As my iPhone is a computer, alarm clock, calculator, radio, camera and an occasional phone… I really consider it a bargain for the price I paid for it. RIP Steve Jobs. Your brand of genius will truly be missed.

  • enough

    he was just a smart guy, how about some tributes to some fallen soldiers EW?

    • sarCC

      True. Plus, it’s not like he inventing the portable mp3 player or anything. He’s just really good at marketing and building a monopoly. It’s truly creepy that people are worshipping him like he’s a god.

      Although, it was pretty cool of him to head and help Pixar eventually achieve greatness. Can’t knock him for that.

    • Um

      This is an entertainment site (hence the name Entertainment Weekly), and Jobs influenced entertainment. Sorry if that’s too complex for you to understand.

  • Matt

    A tribute to someone who mass marketing products that no one really needs. This country has officially jumped the shark.

    • ice

      Wow, Matt. You suck. No need to say more.

  • renny3

    @sarcc, no he didn’t invent the mp3. But, having lived right between apple and intel, and across from creative labs in the late 90s, I can tell you first hand Steve Jobs completely and single-handedly took something no one knew what do do with or how to market it or how to get the masses to use it and turned it into something we all have. No matter if it’s an ipod or not, everyone had to have an mp3 player. Steve Jobs’ impact on this world is so much more than being a marketing genious (although he was that), and just by you saying so, you show your lack of knowledge on the subject. I’m guessing you are under 20 years old, and if so, I can understand you not completely understanding what he has done. But tv is different, phones are different, movies are different, music is different, computers are different…the way we interact with each other. He has had a hand in so many things, stuff you don’t even realize. And even if he didn’t “invent” it….he found ways to get us all to use it, and not just because of the money, it was because he wanted to change the way we use technology. That’s what happenes when you have ideas and inventions. You do it because you have something to give to the world. Most of us will be lucky if we impact just a few lives…he impacted just about everyones.

  • Baby Badger


    • it will be OK

      I saw that on a billboard on Thursday (Oct 6)! It was next to the Q Bridge/Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge in New Haven, seen from the I-95 northbound lane: just the word iSad and a picture of Steve Jobs. Thought it was very well done. I’m sure it’s a repeated billboard, but it was appreciated.

  • John Zuzich

    I see a lot of people saying mean things. Steve was no Mother Theresa, but be created alot of jobs in this country and around the world, that put a lot of food on peoples table, and roofs overs their familys heads, and his products bought joy to many people. How many of you have accompliched so much in your life that you can talk so much trash about him.

  • John Zuzich

    I see a lot of people saying mean things. Steve was no Mother Theresa, but be created alot of jobs in this country and around the world, that put a lot of food on peoples table, and roofs over their familys heads, and his products bought joy to many people. How many of you have accompliched so much in your life that you can talk so much trash about him.

  • cam

    I wonder if he’ll be included in the Oscars death reel, because of his involvment with Pixar?

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