It never ceases to amaze me what people will stand in line for in this city. For example, groceries at Trader Joe's, where one shopper calls it a "pre-glasnost Soviet grocery store." People complain about the line, but I think they like it. In fact, I think the line is the whole point.
It seems some people really enjoy being in certain lines. Lines are hot. The line outside the Magnolia cupcake bakery is hot. And the recently opened Grom gelato store this weekend had people standing out on the street to get, um, gelato in 50-degree weather. So the Grom line must also be hot.
But the hottest line to be in has got to be Shake Shack's, where people wait forever (like hours) to get burgers and fries and say "totally worth it." Why do they do this?
People like being pressed up against each other. Have you ever noticed how, though there are two down escalators exiting the Union Square Regal megaplex, every single person flooding out of a movie crams onto the same escalator and nobody but nobody goes down the empty one?
Since waiting in line is fun, the Shake Shack line comes with posters instructing people waiting to do "Shack-cercises." I didn't see anybody actually doing them, though. And if you ever feel lonely for the Shake Shack line, you can always watch it from home or work on the SS webcam.
Celebrating this most popular and possibly longest line in town, Shake Shack sells a t-shirt featuring the line itself. As if the line were an attraction. Which, let's admit, it is. And instead of loving NY, the t-shirt says, "I Shake-Shack NY."
Which I guess is the goal of every chain--to turn itself into a verb and then "do it" to the city. Shake Shack is spreading rapidly, heading to 77th and Columbus next, then possibly Citi Field.
Maybe what the mom-and-pops need are lines. Here's an idea for some ambitious group of performance artists: Dress up like Sex & the City girls and make lines outside of the most unfashionable places. Do it outside Met Foods. Do it at the Sweet Banana Candy Store. Do it at the Donut Pub. Do it at Show World.
P.S. Already, they are clamoring to get in line for Ikea, as if they've never been to the one in Jersey. Ikea has had to issue a warning to potential liner-uppers, says City Room, "Customers will not be allowed to line up outside the new Ikea in Red Hook, Brooklyn, until 48 hours before the grand opening."