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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rumors of a marriage between hip-hop mogul Jay-Z and singer-actress Beyonce drew swarms of media to the street outside his penthouse on Friday, even as speculation swirled about the possibility of a hoax.
Throngs of photographers, TV crews and onlookers crowded around the garage entrance to the apartment building in Manhattan's Tribeca district where the wedding ceremony was thought to be taking place.
A parade of sport utility vehicles with tinted windows was seen coming and going from the garage late in the afternoon, one of them carrying two people dressed in chef's uniforms carrying large, square, white boxes on their laps.
And men dressed in tuxedos were spotted on the roof of the building, where a white tent was erected.
As night fell on the scene, word spread through the crowd that several celebrity guests had been spotted arriving by car, including Beyonce's former Destiny's Child cohort Kelly Rowland and actress Gwyneth Paltrow.
People magazine touched off the celebrity wedding watch this week when it reported the couple, who have been dating for several years, had taken out a wedding license in Scarsdale Village, New York, that is valid for 60 days.
Gossip blogger Perez Hilton fanned the flames when he reported the wedding would take place on Friday, then followed up by posting the address of Jay-Z's apartment house as the location for the nuptials.
Representatives for the pair have declined to comment on the reports, and the Internet buzzed with skepticism.
One celebrity Web site, TMZ.com, questioned whether the apparent wedding preparations might be for another couple in the building. Another site, eVIPlist.com, suggested the whole frenzy was part of a hoax perpetrated by actor and TV prankster Ashton Kutcher.
The camera crews at the scene were undeterred, however.
"I can't believe all the paparazzi. It's really exciting," said Sydnee White, 17, one several fans mingling with members of the media hoping to catch a glimpse of the stars.
Matrimonial union between Jay-Z, 37, whose real name is Shawn Carter, and Beyonce, 26, also known by her full name Beyonce Knowles, would mark one of the highest-profile celebrity unions in recent years.
The two have been romantically linked since September 2002, and they performed together in music videos for two of her hit singles, "Crazy in Love" and "Deja Vu."
Beyonce rose to fame as a member of the glittery R&B act Destiny's Child but emerged as a superstar in her own right with her big-screen turn as Foxxy Cleopatra in the 2002 film comedy "Austin Powers in Goldmember." The following year Beyonce scored a hit with her debut solo album, "Dangerously in Love," collecting five Grammys along the way.
The Houston native earned a Golden Globe nomination in 2006 for her role as a Diana Ross-like character in "Dreamgirls," a big-screen adaptation of the Broadway hit musical.
Her marriage to Jay-Z comes as the hip-hop artist and record executive is in talks with concert promoter Live Nation for a deal reported to be worth about $150 million, rivaling the biggest music contracts ever.
The onetime street hustler from Brooklyn ran the landmark rap label Def Jam Records as president for several years, but stepped down from that post in December.
Additional reporting by Lucas Jackson; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Dan Whitcomb