"We're here for Rob," said 22-year-old Stacey Anderson, holding a hand up to her forehead to block the sun this afternoon. "I know what it looks like — we may be first in line, but we're not crazy."
She arrived to this Manhattan sidewalk on 53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues at midnight on Saturday, 42 hours before the red carpet was set to roll out for the New York premiere of Robert Pattinson's new film Cosmopolis, a David Cronenberg adaptation of the Don DeLillo novel. The film is screening at the Museum of Modern Art there, but it's neither that nor the film nor the novel Anderson and her three friends in line are interested in. They and roughly 100 other campers have come for Rob: he of the brooding gaze, wild hair, occasionally sparkling skin — and recent epic cheating scandal involving Hollywood's highest-paid actress, Kristen Stewart.
"We're good fans, not psycho fans," Anderson stressed. She thinks Pattinson is an amazing actor — quirky and passionate. And really hot. But does he make her nervous?
"No, I've met Dan Radcliffe hundreds of times. You get used to it."
Anderson and her crew have been sleeping on the sidewalk, in the kinds of slouchy vinyl chairs you take to the beach. They've killed cockroaches and watched a homeless man shit in the street, and one night woke at 3 a.m. to a cab driver playing a drum and a harmonica. They take breaks for meals, stretching and phone-charging sessions at Starbucks.
Many in the line recognized each other from past Pattinson events. Some met at last month's San Diego Comic-Con International, where he made an appearance. They have stories of sweaty lines and hasty autographs. They compare cell phones photos of the last time they saw him. (The first few dozen in line all seemed to have a last time, or a time before that, or a time before that.) This group is overwhelmingly adult women, many of them married.
When I ask Anderson and line-mate Thomazine Hernandez, 23, what they think of Kristen Stewart's cheating scandal, they tilt their heads and reply sympathetically.
"She's so sweet in person. It's their lives. We don't know the whole truth," said Hernandez, who is married. "I wish they were together. I'd rather he date her than me."
"She's a great actress," Anderson said. "It's so frustrating when... There are some haters here... Well, you'll see."
It didn't take long to find them.
"When I found out what she did, it was the best day of my life," said "Melanie," who sat about a dozen people behind Anderson and Hernandez in line and would only speak under a fake name. "I know that girl has trouble with thinking. Her teeth stops the air from coming into her brain."
In a semi-hushed voice, Melanie said Kristen is a "terrible human being" and an "ungrateful asshole." Melanie won't give me her real name because she thinks she'll be threatened. She shows me Tumblr posts on her phone from people who say they'll track her down at the premiere. They're not death threats, but they're certainly troubling.
"You have no idea what it's like on Tumblr or Twitter when you hate Kristen Stewart," Melanie, a married woman, says. "They act like I ate baby Jesus for breakfast."
Elsewhere in line, another Rob fan is unhappy.
"I got here and I was eighth in line," 16-year-old Aaliyah Gist said at around 1 p.m. on Monday. She arrived 9 a.m. on Sunday. "This morning, I am 30th." The fans in front of her were joined by other fan friends, and MoMa security doesn't care about policing line-cutting, Gist says. She's been to other Pattinson premieres, but she's never seen a lack of security like this before — no barricades, no guards, and nothing dividing the line from the pedestrians.
"I don't know what the venue is doing. These people keep walking past us, asking us what we're standing in line for," she said, rolling her eyes at passers-by. "If I meet Rob, I'm going to tell him I know exactly how he feels, having questions thrown at him all the time."