1:34 PM Wednesday, October 15th — Free donuts for the Dough opening Location: 14 West 19th Street Length: A hundred and ninety-two people with inner Homer Simpsons Weather: 77 and partly cloudy Crowd: Local office-workers, for whom a free donut is probably the highlight of their week Mood: Excited enough to make me question whether or not these people need anymore sugar in their systems Wait time: Fifty minutes Lingering question: How long can one function at work after consuming a Dulce de Leche donut?
9:46 AM Friday, August 15th — Teens waiting for Miley Cyrus, Greenwich Hotel
Length: Twenty-four teenagers Weather: 65 and partly cloudy Crowd: Twenty-two girls and two boys; could have easily have been mistaken for an American Eagle casting call Mood: Just happy to basking in the wake of the Cyrus!!! Wait Time: As long as Miley wants you to wait Lingering Question: How long has it been since we passed peak twerk?
12:03 PM Wednesday, July 9th — Halal Cart, 69th and Madison
Length: 11 people Weather: 81 degrees and partly cloudy Crowd: Construction workers Mood: Distracted Wait Time: Approximately seven minutes Lingering Question: How many Halal carts can one neighborhood sustain?
4:18 A.M. Monday, September 8 — NYU Orientation Location: Bleecker and Mercer Length: At least two hundred backpacked cattle Weather: 75 and mostly sunny Crowd: Literal fresh-faced fresh-persons Mood: "Zomg so excited!!!1" Wait time: Four or five years, depending on major Lingering question: How many mansions could you purchase with the amount of student debt accumulated the occupants of this line?
6:53 PM Tuesday, August 5th — Free Haim/Sleigh Bells concert sponsored by Levi's
Location: Brooklyn Bridge Park Length: Three quarters of a mile Weather: 72, mostly sunny Crowd: Two thousand people in various states of wear and tear; two thousand pairs of Levi's in various states of wear and tear. Mood: Youth-y, palpably. Wait Time: Roughly one hour Lingering Question: How much do jeans fade while standing in a line? How often had they been washed?
Awl pal Matthew J. X. Malady makes the good point that waiting in line is what makes America great—even as we invent more and more "perks" that allow the well-off to line-hop at every opportunity. Our near future, sorry to say, is a two- or three-line class system. He does not even address TSA Pre-Check, which allows the elite to not only bypass the airport security line but actually get into their own line. (And keep our shoes on!) That's where America is going. (See you there? No, not you, poor person, I meant the well-dressed fellow next to you.)
7:55 AM Thursday, August 21 — Barney's Warehouse Sale, The Metropolitan Pavilion at 19th and 6th
Length: Seventy-six people Weather: 66 and partly cloudy Crowd: Under caffeinated clothing addicts Mood: Half asleep yet fully dressed Wait Time: Fifteen-to-twenty minutes Lingering Question: How has this “warehouse” not been cleaned out yet?
Jeff Koons Retrospective, The Whitney — July 25th, 4:06PM
Location: 75th St. and 5th Ave. Length: 68 people Weather: 81 and partly cloudy Crowd: Diverse enough to make any Koons collector (and their wallet) swell with pride. Mood: A despondent tourist whined to her friends. A native clutching an "I *insert giant ballon rabbit* Koons" tote smirked as she took her place at the back of the line. Wait Time: 30-45 minutes Lingering Question: How many visitors does it take to raise the value of a Jeff Koons work by one percent?
Is there a name for the psychological cozy feeling when you're finally not the last person in a long line?
— Choire Sicha (@Choire) June 22, 2012
In the interminable Stumptown morning line that spills into the lobby of the Ace Hotel every day (LOL, I know, but it's the only place for good coffee drinks by our office), I was last in line for a while and then this friendly fox sidled up behind me and was like "Aren't you thrilled that you're not the last last in line anymore?" I was! There ought to be a word for that, we agreed. Part of it is [...]