The New York Times has published an article (free subscription required) by Christopher Hawthorne today about last Saturday’s opening of Apple’s new retail store in San Francisco’s Union Square. In particular, the article investigates why Mac fans get so excited about these store openings—waiting in a queue for days in some cases to be first in line. “For some Apple fanatics, apparently, the queue’s the thing,” writes Hawthorne. “This particular one seemed endless. It began just outside the front door of the store, a brand-new two-story building whose upper level, featuring two glowing Apple logos set against stainless steel panels, gives it the look of a silvery PowerBook flipped open for use. It then ran along four full blocks before hanging a sharp right onto Market Street. Apple officials estimated that about 1,200 people were in the line at the 10 a.m. opening, and that nearly 6,000 more passed through the store on Saturday.”