Apple will open its latest retail store tomorrow night in New York.

“We opened our first New York store in SoHo in 2002, and it has been successful beyond our dreams. Now we’re thrilled to open our second New York store on Fifth Avenue,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “With outstanding service and an amazing location open 24 hours a day, we think the Apple Store Fifth Avenue is going to be a favourite destination for New Yorkers and people around the world.”

The 20,000-square foot underground store is marked at street level by a glass cube containing a suspended Apple logo that was designed, and some say paid for, by Apple CEO Steve Jobs. You can take a look at some early images here.

Some reports have claimed Jobs will make a trip to the East Coast to attend the opening, marking the store's location on one of the most influential streets in the US.

Anxious Apple-watchers have already started camping outside the store, waiting for their first glimpse of what's happening inside. ifoAppleStore has even flown down with 100 commemorative badges to distribute to the Mac-hungry rough sleepers as they prepare for the opening cheer.

Speculation also exists that Apple has arranged for a street near the store to be closed for the day of the opening, with a local New York property-focused blog report claiming this is so the company can host a live performance from "a major band" to mark the opening.

The new store will offer over 100 Macs and nearly 200 iPods for customers to try before they buy, as well as the world’s largest assortment of accessories to help users get the most out of their Mac or iPod. It also has the largest staff of any Apple Store, with nearly 300 highly trained Mac Specialists, Mac Geniuses and Creatives. It will feature a combined 45-foot Genius Bar, iPod Bar and The Studio where customers can get face-to-face support, free advice and work on creative projects at any hour of the day or night.

The retail outlet will be open 24 hours a day, 365-days a year. The company is likely to make a major public spectacle out of the event, and is already offering free T-shirts and prizes to curious Fifth Avenue shoppers who attend the opening, which takes place on May 19 at 6pm.

Over 147 million people on three continents have visited Apple retail stores since they opened in May 2001. Apple’s Retail division generated more than one billion dollars in revenue during the 2005 holiday shopping season, solidifying Apple’s position as one of the fastest-growing retailers in the world. Apple now operates 147 stores, including six in Japan, six in the UK and two in Canada.

Apple will give press and media an early tour around its latest retail outlet tonight.