There’s a site called Dead Malls devoted to malls, some still alive, but most of them are dead.
You can search by location or mall name. It’s fascinating to go back and read up on the places we spent so much time.
In Buffalo as a kid, I frequented:
Eastern Hills Mall, a site for regular Saturday night outings for my family in the early to mid 70’s … has apparently undergone a renaissance. It was billed as the biggest mall of all when it opened in 1971, although I’m not sure how much of that was local chauvinism. I moved away from Buffalo in 1989, and I haven’t been in this mall since 2002 or 2003, but it seemed OK then.
Boulevard Mall had a little more upscale, old money (if there’s such a thing in the suburbs), reputation. I think I went there some time in the 90’s, and wasn’t impressed. It also is apparently thriving.
Seneca Mall was a place I went a few times when very young (my grandmother lived in that area until 1972). It’s apparently a rubble pile now.
Main Place Mall was downtown, and I went there very occasionally — mostly once I had my driver’s license and happened to be downtown. It’s still going. People from the suburbs go downtown in Buffalo arguably less than any other metropolitan area. I stayed in a hotel not far from this mall for over a week last year, and it never occurred to me to check it out.
I was also talking with my mother last month about Chautauqua Mall. It’s not on the site either. It was the mall in what passed for the suburbs of Jamestown, the faltering city of 30K or so that anchored rural Chautauqua County. I haven’t been there in probably 35 years, but Chautauqua Mall is still open.
I lived in Tuscaloosa for a couple of years. University Mall is not listed in this webpage, but I heard it was damaged by the big tornado a few years ago. I have fond memories of McFarland Mall. It was down in the dumps 25 years ago, but even then there was a bar and a movie theatre there that I liked.
I also lived in Salt Lake City in 1991-2. I spent a lot of time at an urban mall named Trolley Square (built in the old streetcar barns). I loved that place: cool, upscale stores, a couple of good restaurants (especially an Italian place called … hmmm … Ferrantelli maybe), movies and bars. But I was there about 10 years ago, and it had gone downhill. And after that there was a mass shooting there.
We lived in New Orleans in the 90’s. There are some malls from there on the site, but none I ever went to much. I suppose just about all the malls there were killed by Katrina.
One point my wife and I emphasize to the vXkids is how unusual it is to grow up without a mall. We live in a small-ish city on I-15, and the nearest mall is about an hour away. And, it’s not much of a mall. We’ve been there about 5 times. It’s anchored by a Barnes and Noble now. We all enjoy that … but let’s face it … no one goes there to buy books anymore. We just test fly them before hitting the keyboard.
I swear a lot, and I’m polite, so I found these cholorpleths interesting:
I grew up in Buffalo in the 80’s, and I think it was a lot swearier than they show it to be. And, my first (professor) job was in Alabama; I actually got negative comments on my evaluations that I had sworn in class. Both these things make me think the map is somehow inaccurate.
FWIW: When I was a young slacker I had a summer job as laborer in a high school. The head custodian made up new swear words. One time he was calling me out in front of the whole crew for some problem with a painting job. And he screams "You paint like a dogfuck!" That wasn’t even one of his better ones, but it got to me, and I started laughing uncontrollably. He tried yelling more, but eventually he started laughing too and just walked away shaking his head.
Very cool infographics by Eric Fischer. Obviously, this is San Francisco. The tourists are downtown, along the wharves, out to Alcatraz, and along the Golden Gate Bridge. The locals are further up Market Street, and out through Golden Gate Park, but also in downtown Oakland and Berkeley.
Less familiar is my old stomping grounds of New Orleans – where the tourists don’t leave the French Quarter, CBD and Warehouse District, except to go a little uptown to the Garden District.
Then there’s my hometown, Buffalo, where tourists dare not tread (and apparently the locals don’t post many photos either):
Everyone seems to be missing the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Delaware Park.
The information was derived from people who posted and geotagged their photos.
One of my earliest memories is of my dad going to a Bills playoff game – no doubt the January 1, 1967 loss to Kansas City for the right to face the Packers in the Super Bowl.
Reading that article today is an amazing time capsule back to that time, when Buffalo was a top 20 market for spending and television … and that was without counting the Canadians across the border.
It also highlights some bit I didn’t know:
Buffalo expected to get an NHL team in 1966, but instead St. Louis got a team they hadn’t even applied for.
Buffalo expected to get a National League baseball team in 1969, but the franchise was awarded to Montreal instead.
The Bills were considering moving over new stadium issues in 1969 – to Seattle!
The (football) Bisons of the All-America Football Conference, as one of 3 profitable teams, expected to join the NFL with Cleveland and San Francisco, but the third slot went to Baltimore.
The article implies that the St. Louis, Montreal and Baltimore deals were all dirty.
The article also discusses the stadium plans at that point. The choice was between a location downtown, or one about 5 blocks from where I grew up (near what is now ECC North). I was cognizant of enough in the 1970’s to recall the lawsuit and settlement when Rich Stadium was ultimately built in a third location.
The article makes no mention of the Buffalo Sabres, who would be playing 20 months after publication. Only that the ownership group would apply for a franchise the next time the NHL opened the doors.
It also makes no mention of the Buffalo Braves, the NBA team that couldn’t make a go there in the 1970’s (maybe because they stunk). They also started playing 20 months after the article appeared. Eventually they landed as the Los Angeles Clippers (and they still stink).
There’s also no mention that Buffalo did have a National League baseball team in the 19th century, or an NFL team in the 1920’s.
JT forwarded me this article. It’s about how Buffalo built a state-of-the-art stadium, and then filled it with record crowds to show their commitment to getting a major league baseball expansion franchise.
Buffalo still has the stadium, but 4 other cities have the clubs.
Lots of good links in the article, including an obscure video shot at the stadium from when the Goo Goo Dolls were still just a local band. Even better is this local news piece from the night before the stadium’s first game:
At the time, the reporter makes clear that getting the team wasn’t an if but a when.
And, check out that 80's hairstyle and oversized leather jacket on Mindy Rich!
I grew up in the Buffalo suburbs. The Blizzard of ‘77 is a prominent feature of my childhood.* As a robust 12 year-old, my parents wouldn’t let me out the door into the yard for 5 days!
Recently I read The Blizzard by Robert Bahr. It’s one of the few books you can find on Amazon about it.
This is the worst book I’ve ever completed. How would I describe it? How about as the novelization of a Weather Channel special?
* The vXwife and I decided that Roots would be a good thing to watch on family movie night (nights, as it happened). Watching it reminded us that it premiered and ran on consecutive nights when Buffalo was paralyzed by the Blizzard. Afterwards, she bought me some blizzard memorabilia, including this book and a video. Bless her heart for being thoughtful.
And yet … there it is … the mid-winter heartache of Buffalo Bills fans everywhere … the annual reminder of Scott Norwood missing the field goal to win Super Bowl XXV.
Better yet … the book being reviewed isn’t about football, and doesn’t mention Buffalo at all outside of the caption.
Instead, the book is about how important it is to people to lay blame, even when it is inappropriate.
And, in defense of the article, the caption to the photo points out (correctly) that Norwood probably shouldn’t be blamed too much by Bills fans:
In Super Bowl XXV, the Buffalo Bills—who had scored 95 points in their first two playoff games—were held to 19 by the New York Giants. Still, kicker Scott Norwood took the blame for the one-point loss when he missed a 47-yard field goal in the closing seconds.
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