Totems of Sorrow: The 14th Street Apple Store Street Memorial to Steve Jobs

Early Friday morning, David and I journeyed into Manhattan from our home in Jersey City to get our 24″ Apple Cinema Display repaired under our AppleCare warranty. The car service cost us $80 for a 20 minute ride that felt like we were on a bucking bronco, but made it we did.  We were so early for our 9:15am Genius Bar appointment that we had to wait outside the 14th Street Apple Store for it to open.

We took turns holding the heavy Cinema Display, and since it was the morning after Steve Jobs’ death, we were surprised to see the impromptu memorials to him from Apple fans that were plastered on the store windows and decorating the ground around the entrances.  I pulled out my broken, but still trusty, iPhone 3G — yes, we successfully ordered two Verizon iPhone 4s on Friday before we went to the store — and took a few pictures of the way people memorialized Steve Jobs.

There were lots of flowers and partially eaten apples.  Candles, too.  Some thank you cards were visible and lots of newspapers and handwritten thanks we piled up.  It was really touching.  Lots of people were taking pictures of these totems of sorrow.  The time for feeling sad was done.  Now was the time for others, like me, to record the heartbreak of what happened the night before.

Thousands of yellow Post-It notes were stuck to the massive windows of the Apple Store with little bits of wisdom and yearning written on them.  The sunlight on that Friday morning was bright and crisp and the light shone through the Post-Its, through the window and onto the concrete floor of the Apple Store within making a fascinating mosaic of all the good wishes and thanks that flooded the main floor of the Apple Store in swirling colors.  It was incredibly touching and human and the power of the people could not be denied.

Here’s one of my favorite notes that was taped to the brick wall right next to the glass doors: “Three Apples Changed the World; Eve’s, Newton’s and Steve Jobs’.”

I didn’t know much about Steve Jobs before he died on Thursday, but I certainly know now that he was important to people in a really specific way that cannot be quantified in numbers, it can only be felt as loss in the heart.  I used to be a Windows user, but for the past 7 years or so we have been Apple-only acolytes at home and I sure hope we can continue to grow old with new Apple products even in the massive wake that Steve Jobs’ death creates in technological landscape.

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