I'll admit I'm spoiled (and have a loose definition of what spoiled is) when it comes to malls. I get off on suburbia and have the only-in-New York-would-it-be-a-luxury of getting driven around New Jersey and Westchester on whims. This past weekend I decided to rough it and made the trek to the Palisades Center with two friends, Heather and Molly. Normally, I wouldn't rely on a subway, train and bus combo to go the 35 miles, but why not? It's part of a Metro-North one-day getaways package–it's not like we pulled this idea totally out of our asses. I had a day to kill and I see weekend work in my future so I wanted to seize a remaining free Saturday.
The thing about malls is that realistically you can find most of the stores in "the city." This probably wasn't so true ten years ago and nearly unthinkable before the '90s. Target isn't even the big deal it used to be now that we have (a shitty) one in Brooklyn (ok, two, but most New Yorkers don't go to or even know where Starrett City is). And we have Best Buy, H&M, Lord & Taylor, Macy's, etc. I like looking for the new shops that have yet to infiltrate Manhattan and the weirdo venues that would have no place here.
Forth & Towne, The Gap for old women, a.k.a. over-35s (I still have a few years, thanks) is a good example. They sell four different lines of clothing: selected Gap styles, Allegory which is tailored, unhideous and reminiscent of Laura on Project Runway, Prize which is a little trendy and more casual, kind of Anthropologie, and Vocabulary which is definitely middle aged, very caftan-y. Maybe I'm decrepit because a lot of the clothes were likeable and came in my size, which I can't say about a lot of stores. As far as mid-priced grown women shops go, I thought Forth & Towne was more stylish than the likes of J. Jill and Chico's, which isn't saying much.
The strange camp belonged to Fred Meyer Jewelers. Fred Meyer is a NW one stop shopping grocery chain. Why there's a standalone Fred Meyer Jewelers in Rockland County is beyond me. I've never seen such a thing. They also had a store that only sold expensive wooden slides and jungle gyms, Jo-Ann ETC. Plus (which definitely doesn't exist in NYC) and something called Opus Entertainment that still confuses me. I was surprised to see a Kinokuniya–maybe there's a large Japanese community in West Nyack? I didn't see many Asian shoppers. All the ads taped up in the bus shelter were Spanish language promos for bands and other extravaganzas in local Mexican restaurants. But the bus stop might not be indicative of West Nyack as a whole. After all, we were the only white people waiting for the bus, but in the suburbs only poor souls and nuts take public transportation. I forget about these things sometimes.
Of course, I'm most fascinated by the food offerings. And their ThEATery had options in spades. There were all sorts of restaurants I'd never heard of like FOX Sports Grill and Cheeburger Cheeburger, and ones I've heard of but never seen in person like Q-doba and Fatburger. There was a big ad for coming attraction Café Tu Tu Tango, which I'm still baffled by. I totally don't know what they mean by "food for the starving artist." I ate at Fatburger, T.G.I. Friday's, Kohr Bros and Pretzel Time. Yes, four places. We were there all day, ok?
Palisades isn't just food and shopping, they have an ice skating rink, indoor Ferris wheel, post office and a shuttered comedy club, Rascals. The one thing they don't have and that I've never understood about American malls, is a grocery store. In Asia and Europe (ok, Singapore, Malaysia and Barcelona-I can't speak first hand to the rest of the continents) there's always a huge supermarket in the malls. Did I mention that this is an ugly mall? I'm all for inner beauty but there's a lot of concrete and weird neon and wire fencing and unused space and empty real estate offices and strangely pruned fake trees.
It ended up being a lot of effort for hair color and batteries, my only purchases, but it's about the journey not the destination. I've been a little worried about my recent self-chosen pay cut and frankly, I don't really need anything. I have too many clothes, shoes and bags as it is (of course they're all cheap and not a la minute, but do I really need skinny jeans and "The New Clean" anyway?) and I don't require "work" clothes to do my work.
I'd definitely go back to Palisades Center, but I'd probably bum a ride. See a few more mall photos.
Palisades Center * 1000 Palisades Center Dr., West Nyack, NY