Despite 54% humidity and 90 degree heat on a cloudless day, sweaty Harry Potter fans thronged the sidewalk and the traffic island between Broadway and Amsterdam Ave., building to a crush that required NYPD crowd wranglers to shoo Potterites out of traffic as early as 2 p.m. on Monday (start time for the premiere: 6:30).
Warners booked Lincoln Center’s vast Avery Fisher Hall, home of the New York Philharmonic, for the premiere of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” — one of the few films to show there (the organization ususally hosts big-ticket in the smaller Alice Tully Hall).
Fans came from all over the country, many to attend the screening. Tickets were given away through contests held by distrib Warner Bros. and fan websites like MuggleNet (the Will Call line stretched two blocks at 3 o’clock). Hundreds of teens twentysomethings pottered around in full-blown Hogwarts gear; some licensed, some improvised.
“I remember seeing the first movie when I was in the 6th grade,” said Danielle Iozzo of Boston, as her friend drew a lightning bolt in black Sharpie on her forehead. “We had to compare the book to the movie in English.”
Nearby businesses were swamped: the line for a cool drink at the closest Starbucks went around the store’s interior twice; the local Duane Reade was packed out, as well. And P.J. Clarke’s, the bar directly across from Lincoln Center, where Potterites courting heatstroke were leaning against the windows? “Nope,” said one server, who didn’t give her name. “They’re asking to use the bathroom, but that’s about it.” Employees at the Borders a few blocks down Broadway apologetically declined to talk, citing company policy, but one employee was restocking the final Potter novel, and the store’s central display of Potteralia was attracting a lot of attention.
Signage ranged from grateful (“Thank You For the Magic!”) to boastful (“We’ve been here six days”). Christine Krumm and her sister Jennifer began waiting for the blessed event last Wednesday. “We knew we would be doing this,” Jennifer explained. She indicated the girls standing behind her, all in glitter and fictional school uniforms (some with ties, despite the weather) who hailed from as far away as Michigan and as close by as New Jersey. “We met at the premiere for Part 1, and we made a pact to come back.”
One couple near the back of the line didn’t seem particularly bothered by the weather. John, a bearded 25-year-old wearing a sweater over a dress shirt with a Slytherin tie, said he felt fine. Didn’t the sticky heat bother him? “We’re from New Orleans, so nope,” he laughed. “Definitely not.”