(Yeah, I promise to blog about the holidays SOON -- some great pics and such, but this is IMPORTANT.)
It was with much trepidation that I received the news of the closing of the Brookdale Center Macy's store in Brooklyn Park, MN. Brookdale has always been the kind of red-headed stepchild of the "Dales" chain (Ridgedale being the tony preppy girl, Southdale the snotty Radcliffe sorority girl, Rosedale the slightly trashy teen looking at a pregnancy test) but man, it is headed for Apache Plaza territory. Stores are dropping off like flies, with only Barnes and Noble, now, still alive and active. That whole area, formerly at least KIND of awesome (you know, a Ground Round, some toy stores, a couple interesting malls) is basically dead as a doornail.
This depresses me, and I don't know why. Sure, I spent a lot of time at Brookdale mall as a kid -- my first job was at the Record Shop on the Sears end of the mall, and my friend Adam and I used to "scope chicks" there a lot. Oh, and I went there with my mom a ton when I was *really* young, and ate at the Brothers Deli that used to sit on the far end of the mall that doesn't exist anymore, or the snack shoppe that was in the central courtyard near Dayton's.
But I dunno, it isn't just that -- its something specific about edifices and buildings and areas and reasons why a place like a mall can go from hot to cold to Dead Alice, and that has to do with the Passage of Time, and thinking about the Passage of Time *always* kind of depresses me, y'know? When Apache Plaza (the "holy crap, if everybody lamenting it had actually *gone* there it wouldn't be gone" dead mall) died, and the area around it with it, I was sad, even though I didn't ever *go* to Apache Plaza. It was like -- it isn't the 70s and 80s anymore, and Things We Used To Need In the 70s -- cheese boxes, toys, interesting clothes, vinyl records -- we don't need anymore. Because We As A People have changed so much past that.
And so malls die, and leave these barren husks behind filled with memories and ghosts and pasts and time, and it makes me sad. I know malls are just MALLS, just these ugly retail boxes, but for those of us in Minnesota, where winter lasts half the year and Indoor Shopping Malls were the weird Logan's Run future that wasn't, they were our Village Square, such as it was, 1970s style, and so I mourn them more than folks would in, say, California, where, y'know, why would you go to a mall when you can BE OUTSIDE?
I found these photos on Dumpy Strip Malls, a new blog I'll be visiting on a regular basis. The author of the site grew up near Brookdale, and I can tell she feels the loss of that mall -- and that area, and that past -- pretty keenly, which is nifty. She's documenting dead and dying malls (well, and some living ones too!) and trying to get complete pictures of who was there and what they looked like, which is a damn neat project.
The courtyard near Dayton's. To the left was a restaurant of some kind. I have a hard time remembering which stores even LIVED at that end -- the memory's been replaced, now, with the shoddy Dollar Store-type establishment that now occupies this section of the mall. I *do* remember that if you turned around, headed left before you got to JC Penneys, and walked to the end of a dark hallway, you'd come to a hobby store. That was my mall tour circa-late-70s-and-80s -- I can tell you where each hobby store lives.
And here's the Dayton's front entrance. I remember sitting on this fountain with my friend Adam, our shopping bags filled with, like, parachute pants from JC Penneys, dressed in our members only jackets (his was light blue, I think mine was probably the less-fashionable tan, or possibly even -- gahhh! -- maroon!) watching blonde girls with feathered hair and short-shorts walking by, and being very very happy.
I have my fingers crossed for Brookdale like I would for a dying relative -- its hooked up to the machine, someone's ready to flip the switch and turn her off forever. Do malls go across the rainbow bridge to Pet Heaven? Maybe someone can finally save this mall -- can we throw a Best Buy in there?? Is there any salvation for it? Can we pray?