At 12:30pm today, I was walking in the rain in Midtown New York City on my way to a meeting, when I came upon an odd sight.  I found at least 500 people standing in a long and winding line in a park — in the rain — waiting for food!

At first, I thought maybe this was some kind of crisis food line for the homeless and the genuinely hungry — but when I took out my camera and began to follow the line to the beginning, I was shocked to see all these New Yorkers were standing around just to get a hamburger at the Madison Square Park Shake Shack!

Behold the mother ship! Shake Shack was born from a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park created by Union Square Hospitality Group to support the Madison Square Park Conservancy’s first art installation “I ♥ Taxi.” The cart was a success and lines formed daily, so we re-opened for an additional two summers in 2002 and 2003.

See that wild line for yourself!  Here’s my video:

I find it sort of sad that people would pay $8 for a double burger and stand in line for three hours just to take a bite of beef.

Do those good people really have nothing else better to do with their day than wait in a perpetual queue?

14 Comments

    1. I thought something bad had happened and people were standing in line to give blood or something. When I found out it was a burger line, I couldn’t believe it. I wouldn’t even stand in a line like that for chocolate!

    1. My very first thought was there was a celebrity or people were lining up to watch a competition for a TV competition show like Donald Trump’s “Apprentice” or something, then I saw it was a formal line for food.

      I wouldn’t wait that long, either, and those were hardened New Yorkers, not tourists, who claim the wait is worth it for the “best burger in NYC.” Some of them go several times a week, and they are working people and you would have to be to afford to eat there.

    1. That’s a good article.

      Shake Shack has always had long lines. I remember watching a report on it years ago.

      Here’s a story from July 2010 about the long lines:

      My 11:45 am trip to Shake Shack (on 44th and 8th Ave.) on Monday morning was smooth sailing (great for me!), but that relatively short line on the first real day of Midtown Lunch service wasn’t a very good indication of what the mob scene has now become. As the week has gone on reports have poured in between Noon and 2pm from the new Shack- and, no surprise, it can get pretty bad. It’s only a matter of time before they Disneyland the sidewalk up with a rope line and “Your Wait Time From Here…” signs. In the meantime, as a service to Midtown Lunch’ers, we have created a thorough guide to determining how long the wait is going to be.

      http://boles.co/midtown-lunch

      1. Long Lines at Shake Shack CitiField described in a food poisoning story in the NYTimes during May:

        And then there is Shake Shack, with seven registers and lines that often dwarf those at the other vendors. A ShackBurger goes for $7. A double is $10.

        On Wednesday night, the line was the one place where Mets and Yankees fans found agreement. Some had heard about the food scare and did not care. Some had not heard about it and when told, still did not care.

        “I have never had a bad burger here,” Tim Gonzalez, 28, said. Mr. Gonzalez, a Mets fan, said he had eaten at many Shake Shacks and made a point about getting to Citi Field an hour early so he could get his burger without missing the game.

        “The only thing that stinks is the line,” he said.

        http://boles.co/shake-citi