Sunday, March 30, 2014

Meet Me at the Mall

Once upon a mall...

A piece on CBS last week reported that the glory days of shopping malls are over, and the mall itself— at least as we know it— is on life support. And what fatal illness is befalling the mall? The internet of course.

From the Death of Downtown to the End of Shopping Malls, I've now seen it all. Did you ever think you would wax nostalgic about the Food Court? Musak? the Ten Acre Parking Lot?

Your food court = my food court

As a child the mall could be a treat— or a tortuous round of errands with mom. It might have been your first taste of independence. As a parent it felt safe to let the kids explore on their own and meet back at Sears, with only their Swatch watches to guide them. As a teenager you got your first job there— not the cool one at the candy store but at the shoe store, where you learned the true meaning of sorting socks.

Who could believe we would one day be so sucked into the internet as to buy shoes and wedding gowns not to mention husbands— online? Okay, including may be a stretch but nonetheless...

If malls are dead, where will the walkers go— their good intentions foiled by the wafting fragrance of early morning Cinnabon? And where will you be able to while away an hour or two— in any weather— when you had to get out of the house?

Just as Mark Twain said, "The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated", the American mall may not be history just yet. An Atlanta based developer turned a defunct mall outside the city into Plaza Fiesta, a recreated Mexican marketplace catering to Atlanta's growing immigrant population. Plaza Fiesta has become the place to go for those looking for a taste of home and a literal taste of home. A second Plaza Fiesta recently opened in a former mall in South Carolina. Viva la mercado!


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