Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Old People's Mall

Four score and seven years ago, when I was a high school student, I balanced a couple of jobs at what in my hometown of Whitehall, PA (holla!) was known as the 'old people's mall'. (To prove how long ago this was, one of my jobs was at Waldenbooks (remember those?), and the other was at the Dollar Movie Theatre, and at the time that I quit they were playing Jurassic Park).

This was not the cool mall that all the high school kids hung out at on a Friday night, but the quiet mall that smelled like stale pretzels and dirty fountain water. And of course, it was filled with old people.  Well... never really filled... I guess that's why they liked it.

Anyway, today I found the equivalent of that at the Rotterdam Square Mall.  I think that any mall with K-Mart as an anchor store automatically qualifies.  This mall was one of the more depressing places I have been in a while.  Empty storefronts, empty food court, and more "Cash for Gold" kiosks per square footage than I've seen anywhere else.

It does have all your key mall stores... FYE, Hot Topic, Victoria's Secret, and a bunch of those places that sell wolf t-shirts and woven hats from Guatemala.  It also has a Gap Outlet, which is a bonus (for me anyway), but it's certainly not enough to take away from the dreariness of the whole place. Even the Easter Bunny looked like he was crying beneath his costume. (Sidenote:  the guy taking the pictures of the bunny looked EXACTLY like the comic book guy in the Simpsons).

My kids,on the other hand, noticed none of this bleakness. Why, you ask?  Because it has one of the most impressive collection of pay kiddie rides in all the land.  I was just at Crossgates last week and noticed they took theirs away, and the one at Colonie Center pales in comparison.  This place has everything a little kid could want.  The ice cream truck, the fire engine, a race car, and little merry go round, I could go on.  Of course, being the stingy mom that I am, I conveniently have 'run out of quarters' at this point of the trip, so the kids have to busy themselves with the rides without all the jerking back and forth, but they are happy enough to play.
The highlight for me was the magic tree named "Molly" (complete with British accent), who rhymes in couplets and has a change machine in her trunk.  That particular attraction is free and the kids must have pressed the button fifteen times to hear her sing 'Zipadee-doo-da'.

So, if you happen to find yourself in that neck of the woods, check it out.  By no means am I implying that you should make a special trip... if you did you would just be disappointed.  However, if you need to sell some gold and are over there anyway, make a little pit stop. Your kids will thank you for it, and it just might be the highlight of your visit. No, it definitely will be.


  1. I actually live very close to the 'Square :) and I remember when they built it, it seemed sad and pathetic back then as well. If you know anyone from the Capital District, ask them about Mohwak Mall. hehheheheheh

    I go there for the Gap Outlet and I get my oil changed at Sears. In May, they show the local Sch'dy schools prize winning art projects which is very cool

  2. Last weekend they had the race cars from Fonda and there were alot of people there. The mall almost reminds me of Latham Circle mall. Anyone remember when that was a place with real stores?

  3. Is the carousel no longer there? That was the only thing that made it cool.

  4. I didn't see a carousel. Nor did I see a lot of people. I should check it out on the weekends, sounds pretty happening.

    I have been to Latham Circle and Mowhawk Commons. Similar vibe...Amazing that there are places like these dotting the country.

  5. Funny post, Dawn! I'll have to take J. there to check out Molly and the cars.



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