"An offense to the eyes as you drive up the turnpike"
October 25, 2019 7:50 AM   Subscribe

 
Wait-- "Another thorny situation: The mall will abide by the blue laws, meaning retail will be closed Sundays even though the restaurants and theme parks will be open, says James Cassella, the East Rutherford, N.J. mayor."

Do the blue laws in New Jersey prohibit any retail sales on Sunday? I remember the days of blue laws in Massachusetts, which meant that retail closed at around 6pm and liquor sales were prohibited, but that was done away with a long time ago.

I also wonder, with everything Manhattan has to offer, retail-wise and tourist-wise, how this mall is going to attract the numbers it'll need to stay afloat?
posted by xingcat at 8:01 AM on October 25, 2019 [5 favorites]


It’s specifically a Bergen county thing, which is one of the many reasons this project makes absolutely no sense.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 8:05 AM on October 25, 2019 [16 favorites]


blue laws in NJ??? I lived there for half my life (70s and 80s) and I am pretty sure stores were open on sundays, including the malls. you can even buy booze on sunday (but of course, only from a liquor store)

am I miss-remembering this NJ mefites?
posted by supermedusa at 8:06 AM on October 25, 2019


xingcat many new yorkers might go to nj to shop for clothing because there in no sales tax on clothing in NJ. when we lived in NY we always went to NJ to clothes shop.
posted by supermedusa at 8:07 AM on October 25, 2019 [3 favorites]


Holy heck, this place is finally actually opening? I can't seem to find a list of the original tenants; I wonder how many of them have long since gone bankrupt?
posted by octothorpe at 8:09 AM on October 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


I really love how pissy the Minneapolis newspaper was about this, scoffing that anyone would try to challenge the might of the Mall of America and boasting that no one would go to it.
posted by COBRA! at 8:12 AM on October 25, 2019 [11 favorites]


Bergen keeps li the most restrictive blue laws in the country for what appears to be, in 2019, pure bloody-mindedness more than anything else.
posted by 1adam12 at 8:13 AM on October 25, 2019 [5 favorites]


The American Dream is largely empty swindle is just, once again proving that everything is super literal now
posted by The Whelk at 8:21 AM on October 25, 2019 [17 favorites]


I don't know what New Jersey winters are like, but one of the secrets of the long-term success of the Mall of America (besides being right next to the airport and accessible by light-rail from both downtowns now) is Minnesota winter. Even the crankiest of us occasionally needs a place to walk around and see other people without having to wear a coat or worry about ice when winter gets to be its worst and most depressing.
posted by heurtebise at 8:21 AM on October 25, 2019 [18 favorites]


I'm all for indoor skiing, but indoor chairlift has got to be the utterly stupidest ever.
posted by sammyo at 8:26 AM on October 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


This has been, what, a twenty-year boondoggle? Ridiculous.
posted by entropone at 8:30 AM on October 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


It is kind of amazing that this opened at all. Probably worth visiting before it goes out of business 3 months from now.

I really love the bit about how they bought a helicopter company to ferry rich people from Manhattan.
posted by grumpybear69 at 8:32 AM on October 25, 2019 [4 favorites]


@ heurtebise, this is the only saving grace of the West Edmonton Mall. Only those of us who have lived through the darkest and shittiest days that winter has to offer can understand :)

btw, is your handle in any way pointing in a Project Grizzly direction?
posted by elkevelvet at 8:40 AM on October 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


this is the only saving grace of the West Edmonton Mall

Well, more specifically the saving grace of WEM is the water park, not the retail. Middle of January, that place is like heaven. If heaven had a fuckton of chlorine vapor in the air, I suppose.
posted by aramaic at 8:50 AM on October 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


Originally called Xanadu

Cost: No man can say.
posted by non canadian guy at 8:52 AM on October 25, 2019 [22 favorites]


I mean these things have such a long planning and build time that they arrive as relics from other economies, other planets, warped here by the monstrous magic of immense capital and greed. They’re pre-ruins, waiting to fulfill their purpose as white elephants and solid symbols of the dead way of doing things.

Or, to quote my Mom when I took her around Hudson Yards “Who is this even FOR?”
posted by The Whelk at 8:53 AM on October 25, 2019 [29 favorites]


blue laws in NJ???

Bergen keeps li the most restrictive blue laws in the country for what appears to be, in 2019, pure bloody-mindedness more than anything else.

From the New Yorker:
"...By the end of 1957, Paramus was home to the largest shopping complex in the country. The impact on small retailers was substantial: within three years, ten per cent of Hackensack’s Main Street businesses would close. As a survival strategy, mom-and-pop shops—afraid that they’d have to work seven days a week or pay for Sunday staff—joined with church groups and residents concerned about traffic congestion to press for blue laws. Already concerned about traffic to new discount outlets along the highways, Paramus had passed its own local law two months before the borough’s first mall even opened."
From what I've heard, a lot of Bergen County residents still favor keeping the blue law mainly because it means there's one day a week when there's some relief from traffic.
posted by theory at 8:55 AM on October 25, 2019 [5 favorites]


Do the blue laws in New Jersey prohibit any retail sales on Sunday?

In Bergen County, food and drug stores are open on Sunday, but not other kinds of retail stores (except for some old places that somehow got exceptions). It gets weird with super stores, like BJs. On Sundays, stuff that you can buy in grocery stores is available, but other stuff (like clothes) literally gets roped off and is unavailable for purchase.

From what I've heard, a lot of Bergen County residents still favor keeping the blue law mainly because it means there's one day a week when there's some relief from traffic.

This is true, but honestly, it makes the traffic worse on Saturday, because everyone only has one day to get their shopping done. It's funny that Bergen County retail sales per square foot are still astonishingly high despite the blue laws. Garden State Plaza is one of the biggest and most profitable malls in the country; Paramus, Hackensack and Ramsey seem to have every store imaginable. The bump to tax revenues if blue laws were eliminated would be serious, but residents don't care.
posted by odin53 at 9:09 AM on October 25, 2019 [5 favorites]


I had thought Blue Laws were a Southern thing. TIL.

As for the mall, it means nothing to me without a Chess King and a Tinder Box.
posted by thelonius at 9:29 AM on October 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


TIL that malls are still being built.
posted by Splunge at 9:47 AM on October 25, 2019 [11 favorites]


We're not building malls anymore, we're building lifestyle centers!
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:11 AM on October 25, 2019


On the other hand, once global warming makes it impossible to be outside we will need put roofs and A/C back on these things and then we'll be back to indoor malls.
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:24 AM on October 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


> Paramus

this is a derail and kind of outs me as a mefi oldtimer but also i swear to god every time i see the name "paramus" my left eyelid starts twitching.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:26 AM on October 25, 2019 [33 favorites]


This would have been completed years ago, only early in the project, the planners were interrupted by a person on business from Porlock, and detained by him above an hour, and by the time the meeting was resumed everyone forgot what they were working on
posted by phooky at 10:29 AM on October 25, 2019 [3 favorites]


TIL that malls are still being built.

As someone who lives in Southern California, these "mAllS ArE DyINg!" stories make no sense. Practically every mall is shoulder-to-shoulder packed all year. Hell, the South Coast Plaza up the road from me has extensive logistics setup to handle all the people who fly in from out the country to shop there.

Los Angeles County and Orange County could probably use twice (if not three times) more the current mall capacity, just to keep the crowd-sizes down enough.
posted by sideshow at 10:36 AM on October 25, 2019 [3 favorites]


The same Mills company that started this thing fifteen years ago build a mall out here in Pittsburgh at about the same time and it never really took off and was sort of a half-dead mall for a long time. I think it's still sort of open but even the food court is gone.
posted by octothorpe at 10:48 AM on October 25, 2019


Say what you will about Brutalism, at least an ethos!
posted by symbioid at 11:03 AM on October 25, 2019 [8 favorites]


Los Angeles County and Orange County could probably use twice (if not three times) more the current mall capacity, just to keep the crowd-sizes down enough.

The Westminster Mall and The Bellaterra both are in so-so shape and moving more downscale to keep stores open.
posted by The_Vegetables at 12:13 PM on October 25, 2019


I, for one, predict that, sooner than we think, this will become a much sought-after destination for no-budget postapocalyptic dystopia SF productions the world over.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:36 PM on October 25, 2019


it's fucking gross that it's called "american dream" as if the american dream should still be defined as buy buy buy. i guess that's what they want tho.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 12:38 PM on October 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


The architectural design is stunning. It's like they gave a child the blandest building blocks they could find and then built whatever the kid left behind when they got bored.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 1:00 PM on October 25, 2019


It looked a lot more colorful when it was called Xandadu but they seem to have painted it completely white when they renamed it The American Dream. No symbolism there at all.
posted by octothorpe at 2:41 PM on October 25, 2019 [7 favorites]


In Xanadu did Christie Khan
Against an ugly dome inveigh
Where Hackensack the River ran
Through chainstores measureless by man
Down into Newark Bay
posted by kyrademon at 4:34 PM on October 25, 2019 [13 favorites]


If they have an Orange Julius I’ll consider a visit.
posted by spitbull at 5:41 PM on October 25, 2019


To seek the sacred Cinnabon
To walk the sales half-price
To break my fast on P. F. Chang's
And drink the milk of Jamba Juice
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:17 PM on October 25, 2019 [6 favorites]


Look upon my food courts ye mighty, and despair,
posted by The Whelk at 7:21 PM on October 25, 2019 [3 favorites]


"A place ... that nobody dared to go"
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 8:20 PM on October 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


forgoet the list of stores, I'd like to see the list of banks on the hook for this.
Soon enough to be repurposed as storage for 737 Max jets.
posted by Fupped Duck at 8:29 PM on October 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


This is not a mall, it's a year-round suburban amusement park that hopes to convert its traffic to greater-than-usual retail sales. Nothing makes this more clear than that the amusements are opening up six months before the retail and that they are charging for parking without an amusement park validation.

As an amusement park, it's got a real shot. The ice rink will be in use 19 hours a day seven days a week. The ski slope will be wildly popular if it's priced right. Water park and Nickelodeon park ditto for families with kids and (for the latter) teenagers. Luxury movie theater will be a nice ancillary amenity but won't draw a lot of traffic considering the density of screens in north Jersey already.

The high end aspect of the retail is being touted, but square footage is going to be heavily middle-range and quickly exclusively so -- the amusement audience (except for the ice rink) is going to be working class and lower middle class, no one is crossing a river just to shop here, to say the least of two for Long Islanders, and Jersey already has Garden State Plaza and (especially) Short Hills with far easier logistics for high end shopping.
posted by MattD at 8:49 AM on October 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


Okay but hear me out.

Nobody is going to be able to afford that.
posted by The Whelk at 8:56 AM on October 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


Reason number n+1 why I'm glad the gig in Jersey City is ending and I won't have to drive past this thing anymore.
posted by mikelieman at 8:58 AM on October 26, 2019


Bewail! Bewail!
The flashing lights that spell out SALE!
Drive in circles round it thrice,
Then park your car with outraged dread
For twice twelve dollars have you bled,
To ski indoors in Paradise.
posted by kyrademon at 10:37 AM on October 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


Atrios has been on this beat for a while, with accurate doomology.
posted by j_curiouser at 12:30 PM on October 27, 2019


Traffic a breeze at New Jersey megamall’s limited opening (David Porter, AP)

It notes that parking is not free.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:39 AM on October 28, 2019


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