Forget Tiffany’s and all the other Fifth Avenue icons – it’s the Apple store that people are coming to see in NYC.

As vacancies increase and retail sales throughout the U.S. remain a shadow of the decade’s boom, Apple Inc.’s stores are defying the recession. At Fifth Avenue and Fifty-Ninth Street, the noon-day line on Aug. 11 snaked out the front door. More than a dozen people waited to buy an iPhone, which runs from $99 to $299, plus at least another $70 a month for a service plan. Every computer, seat and station was occupied by a visitor to midtown Manhattan. Apple, based in Cupertino, California, increased revenue at its stores by 2.5 percent in the first six months of the year to $3 billion as the rest of the retail industry suffered. During the same period, sales at all U.S. retailers fell 9.2 percent compared with the first half of 2008, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. – From Bloomberg