Who would wait a week in line for an iPhone 3G?July 5, 2008: 10:04 AM ET
Who's crazy enough to camp out for a week on the streets of New York City for a chance to be first to buy an iPhone 3G?
TheWhoFarm, that's who, a newly minted publicity-seeking environmental collective with an agrico-political mission: to persuade the 44th President of the U.S. -- whoever that turns out to be -- to transform the White House's 17-acre lawn into an organic farm.
"We're here to restore the edible landscape," says Daniel Bowman Simon, 28, the group's organizer and spokesperson and a young man given to making grand pronouncements. "We want to bring seeds of change back to the White House."
Daniel and his supporters -- there are 10 in town this week, but only five braved the rain that soaked the city overnight Friday -- want to set a new Guinness World Record for "longest time waiting in line to buy something."
But that's just a vehicle to get attention for their broader concerns -- sustainability, affordable housing, energy security, locally-grown food (New York State apples are a big theme this week), and "eating right," says Simon, "especially our leaders."
In an open letter to several of those leaders -- including Steve Jobs, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Mayor Michael Bloomburg -- entitled "Waiting for Apples in the Big Apple," the group lists the tasks it hopes to accomplish in the week they will spend camping out in front of the big glass cube of Apple's (AAPL) New York City flagship store:
- We will spend a lot of time in a great public space, around the clock.
- We will use mobile solar power from Solar1.
- We will drink NYC's renowned tap water.
- We will have local healthy food (especially Apples) delivered by our community gardener friends, Greenmarket farmers, and locavore restauranteurs via bicycles and pedicabs.
- We will compost our foodscraps, to help sustain our fragile soil.
- And most importantly, we will talk to whoever happens to stop by about local organic farming as a critical element to sustainable healthy living, food security, youth education, and climate change mitigation. (link)
And, oh yes, they hope to pick up some iPhones when they go on sale next Friday, July 11. Simon plans to buy three: one for Barack Obama, one for John McCain, and one for himself. "We see it as a technology that can liberate us from our desks," he says.
UPDATE: Having stuck it out for seven days and seven nights, as promised, Simon was No. 1 in line at 8:00 a.m. Friday morning when the doors of the Apple Store opened. As he headed into the glass cube -- carrying an American flag and a box of apples -- he was intercepted by one of Apple's security guards and frogmarched away from the entrance, toward 58th Street. You can see a video of the incident at Applauded -- and roughed up -- in the iPhone 3G line. He was eventually allowed to enter the store, escorted by a pair of uniformed cops.
Below the fold: meet the iPhone Five.