html xmlns:og='' xmlns:expr=''> Lounging at the Waldorf: Old Mall, New Tricks


Monday, August 22, 2016

Old Mall, New Tricks

Hey, kiddo, move the Yellow Pages off the futon. Just pop it on top of the VCR and have a seat. I want tell you a story about the most beautiful, magical place of my childhood:

The Mall.

No, it wasn't magical like unicorns and rainbows. But you could sure buy a lot of things with unicorns and rainbows on them! Sweatpants, notebooks, stickers. In a lot of ways, the mall was just like the internet. We went there to shop or maybe just browse. It's where we played video games and watched movies. If we wanted new music or books or custom t-shirts, you went to the mall.

Custom t-shirts. It's just like customizing your My Space page but, you know, a shirt. Why are you laughing?

Anyway, you know how you like to order take out food online? We did that too...but at the mall! Chinese egg rolls. French crescent rolls. Taco meat on baked potatoes. They called it a "foodcourt" but really it was an international taste explosion. THIS was the world market! THIS was the global village! This was the FUTURE!

Foodcourt. One word. Write that down. It'll be good for....something. No, not on your phone! There's a pad of paper right there under the ashtray. Jesus.

Oh, and the time we wasted! You kids think you know how to spend hours doing nothing on your devices? Ha! Us mall rats invented the time suck! We wandered the perimeter of a giant lightwell like old horses living out their last days on a decommissioned race track. First floor, walk a giant rectangle. Second floor, do the same thing. Third floor - listen, we were quite literally going nowhere. Looking at the same stuff. Running into the same people. Sharing the same gossip. Exactly like the internet. The only difference was, you did all of this in person.

What do you mean what do I mean? "In person." You were at the same place at the same time. Like you and I are right - hey, can you look up and make eye contact when I'm talking?

Hold on a second, I just got a text. It's from you. It says, "No."

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Anyway, malls are disappearing everyday, kiddo. Luckily, there are some smart groups out there redoing these relics into spaces people can actually use today. Look, for better or for worse, I buy everything online now just like you. But these structures still exist and they can really serve their communities in incredible ways.

Humor me. Just look at these pictures then you can go back to your Pokemon To Go. Why are you laughing?

Austin, TX
Formerly: Highland Mall
Currently: Austin Community College

Grandville, MI
Formerly: Grand Village Mall
Currently: Mars Hill Bible Church

Jackson, MS
Formerly: Jackson Mall
Currently: Jackson Medical Mall 
Houses various facilities among them a dental school, 
an adolescent health clinic, a physical therapist, and a cancer center.

Providence, RI
Formerly: Westminster Arcade
Currently: The Arcade Providence
Built in 1828, it's the oldest mall in America, 
now a mixed use building featuring retail stores and 48 micro lofts.

No comments:

Post a Comment