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.
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.