New York’s Best Lines.
The Cronut Line
Dominique Ansel Bakery’s early-morning cronut line recalls the old world elegance of Magnolia Bakery’s time-honored, tourism-induced claustrophobia while matching the European flair and unfounded elitism of the late-night wait to get into Pommes Frites.
Free Fridays at MoMA
This beautifully executed block-spanning affair is a single-file reminder that people love Art as long as they don’t have to pay for it. A sole employee at the front of the crowded entrance ensures that event tickets are distributed to the innumerable masses in the least efficient way possible as other docents are busy informing guests that the lengthy row of bodies leading up to MoMA’s entrance is, to answer a common question, the line.
Without a doubt the best-dressed lines in the city, these serpentine rows of bargain-hunting sartorialists pique expectation with bored-looking modelesque humans who apparently don’t work during 10 AM on weekdays. A gaggle of stilettos prevent these queues from breaking into unruly stampedes once the doors open, but the visceral competitive impulse between shoppers seeking to purchase draped merino dresses and pleated jogging trousers at half their net-a-porter value palpates with the early-morning aggression of a post-Thanksgiving Black Friday sale at Walmart.
Every Webster Hall Concert
Webster Hall serves lines with a populist twist: both Advance Ticket Holders and Will Call patrons are filed in the same woefully inefficient queue, and the venue keeps its doors shut well after the hour at which they are scheduled to open, ensuring with its concerts’ consistently-unpredictable start times that every one of their customers will get to experience the line that they paid good money to stand in.
The Great GoogaMooga
“Where the food is great, and so is the wait!”
Governors Ball Music Festival
Reminiscing at once of Bonnaroo’s handsy gatekeepers and Coachella’s cantankerous security crew, the welcome staff at Governors Ball established early that no credit card, tissue packet, or tube of chapstick would go uninspected through the NYC Music Festival’s prodigious security line; meanwhile, a shuttle system otherwise doomed to efficiency blossomed under the raindrops into a magnanimous, stagnating delay; and inside the festival, masses battered by torrential downpours and demoralizing winds quickly formed a third round of excruciatingly-muddy assemblages in front of bathrooms, food establishments, and anything with a roof—human agglutinations all of which rendered the lines of Governors Ball a triple-threat in the literalist sense of the phrase.
The New York City Vegetarian Festival
While less ambient-ly garlic-breathed than the iconic lines of Little Italy’s Festival of St. Gennaro, the four-hour wait to get into the Vegetarian Festival was similarly slow moving and replete with fannypack-wearing visitors who, if you can believe it, say they encountered traffic as they drove into the city. But for the possibility of snagging a free sample of hummus, they admit it was “worth it”. They think there will be coupons for Luna bars! And neglecting to purchase the advance tickets because day-of ticket sales saved them $25 was also totally worth it. And the four-hour wait to get these day-of tickets was totally worth it, as well. Because that’s like getting paid $25 for four hours of your time. And that’s definitely worth it, right?
The Line To Get Into MoMA’s Rain Room
MoMA’s Rain Room line was this summer’s best way to spend half a day standing on a steamy Manhattan sidewalk. NYC’s most ambitious queue of 2013 was a mammoth seven-hour wait whose unfathomable curb-wrapping largess was a highlight of the museum’s Expo 1 Exhibit. Even on a weekday and often before the doors even opened, its tremendous length overpowered the gum-speckled sidewalk and was so wonderfully prohibitive that most opted to leave the line after five hours of record-breaking fun. At the museum’s request, this line was BYOC—Bring Your Own Chair.
The Checkout Line at Trader Joe’s
A celebrated wholesale clusterfuck that creeps through two-fifths of the store’s aisles, the line at Trader Joe’s is short compared to the savings—and it’s completely fair trade! Customers leave unoccupied carts in the middle of its serpentine girth in exchange for benign resentment from other customers too polite to queue up and abandon their baskets as they continue to shop. As creative as it is rogue, this defiance of social etiquette adds a spike of lazy aggravation to fellow shoppers’ otherwise mundane experience of standing for 30 minutes in order to save $1.50/lb. on organic pre-washed arugula. This is a line that keeps on growing!
SUGGESTED READSMemories Of Times Square
by Neal Pollack (2/7/2001)
Summer of “Summer of Sam.”
by Paul Maliszewski (7/6/1999)
Some Letters. Some of These Letters Make Us Sad
by McSweeney's Editors (7/23/1999)
RECENTLYBridge Troll Associate Apprenticeship Opportunity
by Sarah Sloat (4/17/2015)
@thereal_saintfrancis_: Joyful Roars
by Nick Farrell and Rachel Farrell (4/17/2015)
Letters to McSweeney’s
by Various Letter Writers (4/17/2015)