The iPhone 5 is finally available for purchase and I just shot down to Apple’s 5th Avenue Apple Store here in New York City to snap a few pictures of the event.

If you haven’t been to Apple’s 5th Avenue store for a product launch before, let me give you an idea of what it’s like. Case makers such as OtterBox set up tents all over so that consumers can jump out and quickly buy a cover. There’s free donuts from Dunkin Donuts, free candy, global press outlets with cameras set up everywhere and, of course, lots and lots of cheering.

Then, you have the regular commuters walking by, some smiling, some questioning what’s even going on. “Wow, that’s crazy,” one woman said to me as she walked past on her way to work. There’s a ton of security, too. NYPD blocks off the entire area where customers sit in line and I saw a few officers walking around with dogs.

Every few minutes a couple of people leave the store and the press jumps at a chance to speak with them for an interview, or at least to take photos. Then, Apple will usher in a new group from the line and about a dozen employees stand at the entrance and clap as they walk in. It’s quite the spectacle.

I stood there holding my buttered roll and sipping my coffee, and took a few photos for those that weren’t able, or didn’t want to, attend the event. Even if you’re not a fan of Apple, it’s hard not to appreciate the kind of dedication a company can receive from its loyal customers.

As I walked to the subway to come home and post this, I couldn’t help but think to myself: what other company garners this kind of attention?

Check out the full gallery below for more photos.

iPhone 5 5th Avenue Apple Store Launch Gallery