Empty boxes.

I interviewed a futurist today. (Such a job title. I ask you. “Hi, Bob, what’s your game?” “I’m a futurist, Ken.”) Although he was a very nice man, and our conversation was interesting. As part of my prep, I listened to a radio interview he did, and they went off on a tangent about the pandemic’s effect on retail.

This is nothing new, the observation that retail is at a crossroads. Even before Covid, malls were on shaky ground, and those stores that thrived in them likewise, well before. Most of us are old enough to remember the mall era, its glory days. I remember being in one with my sister and little preschool Kate, and I said, “Wasn’t there a Bath & Body Works on the third level?”

My sister replied, “There are two. Bath & Body Works thrives on impulse shoppers, so they put two in one mall, to maximize the chances people will pop in and buy something.”

Me: Mind blown.

Anyway, the pandemic is adding a turbo boost to the death of malls, the death of the big box store, the changing of everything. Back to the interview:

“So our challenge is, what do we do with the infrastructure?”

Ah, there’s the rub.

If it were up to me, we’d nuke them and turn it back to farmland, but that’s, shall we say, not feasible. Probably the best solution for urban areas is medium- or high-density housing, but for rural? Eh, hard to say. A lot become things like laser-tag venues or indoor go-karts, or whatever — a definite comedown.

So what do we do with the empty big boxes? Question for the room while I phone in yet another week. Sorry to miss Wednesday, but it just happened.

So accept a little bloggage:

A nice kinda-sorta appreciation of G. Gordon Liddy, hell’s newest resident.

Let’s also have a big laugh over Matt Gaetz, too. Because no one deserves it more.

Good weekend, all.

Posted at 8:43 pm in Same ol' same ol' |

66 responses to “Empty boxes.”

  1. Suzanne said on April 1, 2021 at 10:03 pm

    Hoo baby. Matt G’s past is coming back to haunt him…

    “Investigators believe Joel Greenberg, the former tax collector in Seminole County, Fla., who was indicted last year on a federal sex trafficking charge and other crimes, initially met the women through websites that connect people who go on dates in exchange for gifts, fine dining, travel and allowances, according to three people with knowledge of the encounters. Mr. Greenberg introduced the women to Mr. Gaetz, who also had sex with them, the people said.”

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  2. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 1, 2021 at 10:22 pm

    Sadly, no bottled beer will be sold in the concessions at Wrigley Field this year.

    They lost the opener.

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  3. Heather said on April 1, 2021 at 10:37 pm

    I am thoroughly enjoying the Matt Gaetz implosion, but this insane thread brings home how disgusting and damaging the extent of all this is. https://twitter.com/BriannaWu/status/1377628298721828866

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  4. beb said on April 2, 2021 at 4:56 am

    What to do about the Mall? First step would be shore them up by destroying Amazon. But that’s probably hopeless because people don’t like to walk anymore. Strip malls are the thing. With those you can park near the store you want to shop in and not have to walk a half mile to reach an inside Mall location. And Private Equity firms are destroying so many of the form anchor stores for mall — Sears, J C Penny, Toys R Us, Hudsons/Marshall Fields/Macys and so on. As for what to do with the buildings? Some are being repurposed but on the whole I’d say scrap them down and fill and lot with a solar electric farm.

    As for Matt Gaetes I have to wonder how can one man get into as much trouble as he has in so short a time. I guess you could say it’s a gift, but he’s so BAD at it.

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  5. Peter said on April 2, 2021 at 5:49 am

    Nancy, was it your sister who said there were two Bath and Body Works or was it Kate? There’s two different levels of mind blowing in that statement…

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    • nancy said on April 2, 2021 at 7:43 am

      Clarified, smartass.

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  6. alex said on April 2, 2021 at 7:50 am

    A few years ago Glenbrook Mall in Fort Wayne was planning to lease a big vacant wing to a megachurch, then backpedaled when other tenants threatened to leave because they didn’t want to be associated with a mall that would do something so desperate.

    Since fewer people use the parking lot anymore, the mall has been selling outlots to stores and restaurants that want to be close to the street and visible. What happens to the mall itself is anyone’s guess at this point. They demolished the former Sears anchor store at one end and a crappy fast food joint built a free-standing outlet in its place. Perhaps the whole thing will eventually be replaced by drive-up businesses like that one, although this city already has more shitty chain restaurants than are sustainable.

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  7. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 2, 2021 at 8:03 am

    John Boehner’s new book is . . . something. His phrase “the chaos caucus” is going to catch on, I think. And on his least favorite senator, he’s nearly poetic, if a bit profane, but that’s John:

    “By 2013 the chaos caucus in the House had built up their own power base thanks to fawning right-wing media and outrage-driven fundraising cash. And now they had a new head lunatic leading the way, who wasn’t even a House member. There is nothing more dangerous than a reckless asshole who thinks he is smarter than everyone else. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Senator Ted Cruz.”

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  8. ROGirl said on April 2, 2021 at 8:12 am

    Some malls are more equal than others. The fancy schmancy one with Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Tiffany stores have socially distanced lines of people waiting outside the stores behind velvet ropes, attended by employees with clipboards and wireless communication devices — kind of like door staff at a nightclub.

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  9. Peter said on April 2, 2021 at 8:37 am

    What some people who lament the passing of malls ignore is that like many structures, shopping malls have a shelf life, and when a mall is 40-50 years old, chances are that the owners are just mopping the place every once in a while and will take whatever rent they can get until the place just collapses.

    I know realtors always invoke their location, location, location mantra, but there’s some basis to that. In the early ’60’s, a developer built three large outdoor malls in the Chicago area – Old Orchard, Oakbrook, and River Oaks. The first two are doing very well today and are outperforming their nearby malls; River Oaks isn’t doing so well, but it is doing a lot better than adjacent shopping centers. That developer carefully studied traffic patterns and picked some prime locations ahead of the curve – early aerial photos of Old Orchard show a lot of farms around the mall.

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  10. alex said on April 2, 2021 at 9:13 am

    The fancy schmancy one with Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Tiffany stores have socially distanced lines of people waiting outside the stores behind velvet ropes, attended by employees with clipboards and wireless communication devices — kind of like door staff at a nightclub.

    Those stores have a customer base that yearns to be seen shopping there just like the clientele of a trendy nightclub. That sort of vanity will never go out of style.

    Peter, I remember when Old Orchard was thought to be on its last legs back in the ’80s. Then they did a big reno and addition and it sprang back to life.

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  11. Connie said on April 2, 2021 at 9:19 am

    I heard a futurist speak back in 1991 and found her most memorable. She talked about having recently worked on a consulting project for a very high level group of newspaper executives, publishers, owners, etc. And despite endless discussions, presentations, focus groups and member involvement she said she was disappointed at the end because these executives were not able to envision their business without that slap on the porch.

    I got it right away. This was a couple of years before the internet as we know it but she was speaking to a group of librarians who paid for database downloads.

    That was the infamous conference during the 36 inches in one night snowfall of the Halloween Blizzard. Some 900 librarians snowed in at the downtown Minneapolis Hilton. For three days.

    Also memorable for my first ever coffee shop coffee, a giant mocha towering with whipped cream.

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  12. Suzanne said on April 2, 2021 at 9:35 am

    Second vaccine is in the books! And one of my children has had the first shot, the others is scheduled for the first. Hooray!!

    Also, watching my elderly mother move ever so slowly & do the barest minimum of exercise has motivated me to work out more. Hooray again!!

    Also, It’s barely above freezing. Boo!!

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  13. Deborah said on April 2, 2021 at 9:35 am

    Urban Chicago has 3 indoor malls, which always seemed redundant to me considering the bustling shopping available on street level in the city. The indoor ones are all at the base of mixed- use highrises, 2 are very close to us and they are not doing well, Water Tower Place lost it’s main anchor, Macy’s and many stores are closed, maybe temporarily, there are hardly ever any people there anymore. The other close one 900 N. Michigan, has a Bloomingdale’s which is not doing well either. The mixed use components of both of those buildings are retail at the base, hotel in the vertical middle and residences at the top. The third indoor mall is in the loop area, called Block 37, weird name but the block it was built on was vacant for many years and was referred to as Block 37 so they decided to keep the name. It’s retail at the base and offices above. The retail space was designed by the architecture firm I worked for before I retired. I always thought it was ugly, had very little to do with the context of the city, I hardly ever went inside to any of the stores, in fact I think I only did once to see what it looked like. Block 37 has never done well, from the beginning it was a bust. Street shopping in the loop is mostly athletic T-shirt shops and a few actual shoe stores etc these days. Marshall Fields used to be a Mecca but it’s now Macy’s and it’s kind of pathetic, very hard to find your way around on purpose because the planners think you’ll spontaneously buy more if you’re wondering around lost. Michigan Ave is starting to perk up after being abandoned and boarded up for months, still a lot of vacant stores. There are no book stores left, Barnes and Noble vacated. If you ask me there was to much emphasis on shopping as a past time and maybe it’s a good thing that it is waning. On the other hand retail on the street, shop windows displays, signs and awnings make for interesting walks and strolls through a city. What will it get replaced by?

    As far as suburban malls, I’ve seen that some have been turned into schools and some are being repurposed as residential, especially building housing on the sea of surrounding parking lots. Lots of wasted building materials if the malls get razed, I hope it can be recycled.

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  14. Jeff Borden said on April 2, 2021 at 9:50 am

    Malls and big box retailers are white elephants when they fall from favor. Off the top of my head, I think, well, maybe they could be turned into housing for the thousands of homeless who cluster under Chicago underpasses and on the fringes of large parks, but then reality intrudes and I ponder how the hell would that work? The suburban malls likely could be returned to greenfield status, but as Deborah notes above, what can be done with the vertical malls?

    Another major building issue in Chicago is the significant number of Catholic churches being closes by the archdiocese. There’s one around the corner from me. St. Matthias is a huge, red brick church very much evocative of those found in Germany since the original congregation was overwhelmingly German. There’s a thriving grades 1 through 8 school associated with the parish, but church attendance has been falling precipitously. (You all have probably read the story that church membership has fallen below the 50% level in the U.S.)

    One of my buddies is making it a point to visit and photograph many of these wonderful old churches. They are gorgeous and inspiring, but without worshippers, what purpose do they serve?

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  15. David C said on April 2, 2021 at 10:29 am

    A few years ago a sociologist did a study that found church attendance was over-reported by a large margin in surveys. I’m sure it’s probably a bit of both but I wonder if the recent reporting about church attendance falling under fifty percent is a matter of attendance actually falling or people being more comfortable admitting they don’t.

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  16. Deborah said on April 2, 2021 at 10:37 am

    Santa Fe has a sad mall on the outskirts. They completely renovated it recently, new furniture and flooring and added big box carbuncles to the outside of it that you can only enter from the parking lot side. If you’re in the mall and want to go to World Market say, you have to go back outside to enter the big box, then if you want to go back into the mall you have to go back outside and find one of the remote entries to the main mall space. Bad design, again probably done so you end up roaming around more and they hope you’ll spontaneously see something you didn’t know you wanted to buy. The mall is probably hurting badly after spending the money to renovate and then almost immediately after having the pandemic hit. There’s another mall about a half mile from our place in Santa Fe, very easy to walk to for us. It’s an older place built probably in the 70s and it looks it. It had recently made a few cosmetic changes, gotten new tenants, small mom and pop type shops but then again, the pandemic hit. It has two grocery stores attached to it so it gets more traffic than the other mall.

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  17. Jeff Borden said on April 2, 2021 at 10:47 am

    I’m thinking Rep. Matt Gaetz of Floriduh is the ultimate “little Liddy.” He’s in some very deep shit. He’s so fucking dumb he used hotel ATMs and ApplePay for his sex sessions. Whatta maroon!

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  18. LAMary said on April 2, 2021 at 10:55 am

    When I first moved to LA and attempted to do business the same way I did in NYC, I discovered that many of the newer office buildings only had entrances through the parking garage. No visible street entrance. I was used to parking once and walking all over midtown NY or Soho or the east side. That strategy didn’t work in LA then. Since the rediscovery of mass transit in LA about 20 years ago things have improved.
    A developer named Caruso has been been building shopping malls in the LA area that are all outdoors (like they were in 1963) with an obnoxious trolly and cute carts selling overpriced junk food. Glendale Americana, one at the old Farmers’ Market, both places I avoid. I will survive without mall stuff.
    G. Gordon Liddy, pride of the Garden State, was nuts. I read Will when it came out. It was probably about 1/3 or more bullshit. Particularly obnoxious was his description of how he “selected” the woman he married. He wanted a woman with math skills, Teutonic, and tall. He was short, half Irish half Italian. He needed a good breeder to improve the blood line.

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  19. Charlie said on April 2, 2021 at 11:42 am

    On the South Side of Chicago we had a large Target on 87th that I used a lot when my kids were toddlers. It closed about 2 years ago and folks down here were upset. Lost a lot of jobs and created a retail vacuum. However, a couple of months back it reopened as a call center that is already employing more people than the Target. I think it only happened because a bunch of community and business leaders really put the screws to a couple of aldermen.

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  20. Mark P said on April 2, 2021 at 11:43 am

    Our small city had an indoor mall near “downtown” that did fairly well until a flood put water about a foot deep throughout the mall. On a floodplain a stone’s throw from the river, so no surprise. Stores started closing and finally the store threatened to turn their store into an outlet so they could get out of their lease. They moved to the new, bigger and better mall just outside of the outskirts of town. They razed the old mall.

    Now the new mall is a ghost town. Sears and Penny closed and the anchor store from the old mall looks pretty empty. Most of the people who live here thought the location was a mistake, but the experts said otherwise.

    The funny part of this story is that a developer raised the level of the old mall and made an outdoor shopping center that is doing quite well. Another developer is putting a collection of stores and restaurants across the street. I suspect it’s only a matter of time before the old new mall closes.

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  21. Julie Robinson said on April 2, 2021 at 11:44 am

    Glenbrook, which Alex referred to, has lost two of four anchors. They were supposed to have a Dave and Buster’s sports bar/arcade and several other new stores opening last year. It didn’t happen, and I’ve been told that inside they’ve walled off the empty stores so they don’t have to pay property taxes on the space. They used to have two Bath & Body Works stores too.

    The other “lifestyle” mall was built with outdoor entrances to all the stores, but Fort Wayne residents’ lifestyles don’t include walking, so eventually they built a street in between the stores. I haven’t been there in many years though I know they have a lot of empty stores too.

    Malls were dying long before Amazon and Covid, but the two have hastened their demise. We are in the deaccessioning phase of our life and rarely buy anything except gas and groceries, with gas down to once a month.

    But when D spent a weekend at his sister’s, he noticed she kept burning her fingers on the toaster. We ordered her some bamboo tongs on Amazon, and two days later she had them. We didn’t have to go to multiple stores, pack them up, or take them to be mailed; just a few clicks did it all. Malls aren’t coming back.

    A blessed Good Friday to those who celebrate it, and a good day to everyone us.

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  22. Sherri said on April 2, 2021 at 11:52 am

    Around here, both strip malls and indoor malls are being torn down and replaced with mixed use multistory housing and office space with retail. Same thing is about to happen to the strip mall where the Sears used to be in town.

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  23. Sherri said on April 2, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    Jeff(tmmo), I’m reading the excerpt of Boehner’s book in Politico, and he’s going on about how all the crazy people came in and changed things in the Republican Party, but the man was right there with Newtie doing the Contract with America bullshit. He helped write the playbook.

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  24. Julie Robinson said on April 2, 2021 at 12:39 pm

    Isn’t Boehner yesterday’s news? Who will buy his book? Is he running out money? He retired almost six years ago and I can’t see that he has any relevance today.

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  25. Jeff Borden said on April 2, 2021 at 12:54 pm

    John Boehner was as much an impediment to governing as Mitch McConnell so I’m not particularly interested in whatever he thinks these days. He helped stall the Obama administration but I’m hard-pressed to think of any “accomplishments” he can claim over his legislative career.

    Sherri correctly notes, the rot in the GOP began with that overstuffed popinjay, Newt Gingrich, who took political rhetoric down into the darkest sewers. I honestly cannot discern what the Republican Party stands for beyond “owning the libs” and shoveling money at the donor class. The party is unable to govern, has no serious proposals addressing anything from health care to infrastructure to economic policies. All it can do is whine, bitch, cry and fundraise.

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  26. alex said on April 2, 2021 at 1:03 pm

    Boehner may not be relevant, but boy howdy does he have some axes to grind and more power to him for spilling about the cray-cray in the partay. Sure, it may be impossible to shame the most shameless of them but maybe it will help hasten their exit from political life. We can hope.

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  27. Scout said on April 2, 2021 at 1:39 pm

    The only mall in my neck of the woods that is still viable is Scottsdale Fashion Square. It’s got all the Scottsdale-y things that Scottsdalians love like Nordstroms, Needless Markup, Crate & Barrel and an Apple Store that is the size of a warehouse.

    I propose we use the dead malls to house and feed the homeless.

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  28. Suzanne said on April 2, 2021 at 1:39 pm

    Retail stores, over the years, have given up on customer service to their detriment. I remember shopping at the big Marshall Fields in Chicago back in the day or at the big Carson’s. The clerks were plentiful and helpful. They made you feel like they wanted your business. They would help you find clothes that were flattering.The Fields annual (or was it semi-annual) basement sale was epic!
    Last time I did some serious dress shopping, I either could not find a clerk anywhere, or the fitting rooms were dirty, or the layout of the store was such a jumbled mess that I gave up because I could find the regular size, not petite, not women’s, not designer, dresses. It’s why quite often I shop resale. I don’t expect customer service or clean dressing rooms and I pay a whole lot less.

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  29. LAMary said on April 2, 2021 at 3:10 pm

    The Nordstroms that used to be in an old style mall moved into the life style, trolley car, carts and kiosks mall. I liked shopping the sales at Nordstroms because they had a good selection of shoes in size 11. So do lots of places online now.

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  30. Deborah said on April 2, 2021 at 3:11 pm

    The one area of Bloomingdale’s that I’m happy has less customer service is the cosmetics department. It was like walking the gauntlet trying not to get accosted by someone with a bottle of perfume in their hands, or a person trying to brow beat you into getting a makeover. They’re always at the entry so you have to walk through to get in or out. But the dress department or the bra department, I want help. Ask me once though then leave me alone.

    Much as I get they were complicit back in the day, I love to read the stuff never trumpers and those types heap onto their misbegotten party now.

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  31. Sherri said on April 2, 2021 at 3:33 pm

    Major League Baseball has pulled this year’s All Star Game from Atlanta, in response to Georgia’s voter suppression law.


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  32. Sherri said on April 2, 2021 at 4:02 pm

    Then the white-flight racist team name Atlanta baseball club immediately issues a statement saying it wasn’t our idea and we’re the victims.

    That’s more like what I’m familiar with from MLB owners.

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  33. Suzanne said on April 2, 2021 at 4:18 pm

    Latest reports are that the Capitol attacker was a 25 yr old Hoosier.
    Another Indiana legend…


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  34. LAMary said on April 2, 2021 at 4:28 pm

    Terry Gross played an interview with G Gordon Liddy from 1980. If you can find it it’s worth listening to. He was ahead of his time. Not in a good way.

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  35. Sherri said on April 2, 2021 at 5:10 pm

    Speaking of ol’ Newtie, check out The Cally.


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  36. Jeff Borden said on April 2, 2021 at 5:22 pm

    I believe Matt Gaetz is in the kind of trouble even his rich daddy can’t make go away. . .


    Callista Gingrich disgusts me across the board, but especially in her insistence she is a true and loyal Catholic. Lady, you were a mistress for years before this tub o’ shit finally married you. There’s a word for what you were and are, madam.

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  37. LAMary said on April 2, 2021 at 5:35 pm

    Calista married a divorced man too.Twice divorced.Let’s text her and tell her she’ll burn in hell.

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  38. Mark P said on April 2, 2021 at 6:40 pm

    Newt is a thoroughly despicable man and a role model for Republicans. But I repeat myself.

    He and Callista are a perfect match. It’s a marriage made in a place that starts with “h” but isn’t heaven. I’m sure they will get a warm reception when they go back there.

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  39. Deborah said on April 2, 2021 at 7:50 pm

    OK it’s time for me to get a different hairdo. Seeing that Cally link makes me realize my hair has devolved to look way too much like her’s. The side parted graduated bob. I let it get this way because of the pandemic, it’s easy to maintain, honestly I don’t do mine as helmet head as her’s, but still. Gross. The video of her grooming Newt was bizarre, extremely bizarre. It’s all a performance.

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  40. Jeff Borden said on April 2, 2021 at 9:09 pm


    Fear not. You’d need to grow scales and consign your soul to the 9th level of hell to come anywhere near the level of horror that is Callista Gingrich.

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  41. Dexter Friend said on April 2, 2021 at 10:48 pm

    Whoa…I just was informed a high school friends’ little brother suddenly died at age 69. It took a minute to realize the formerly little guy was 69 at passing, and remembering his dad died early like that. The guy was brilliant, built his own planetarium, had a masters of astronomy from a university in Melbourne, Australia. And we march on….
    Daughter Lori worked a nursing job in Cleveland in 1990. Newly married, they lived in a big housing tower in Mayfield Heights, which is where the rich own homes. Her building was full of old Jewish Russian people who spoke little English. What was she doing in a building full of elderly Russians? Never figured it out, but I guess it was part of the contract package. But anyway, we visited during the winter holidays and went shopping at the ill-fated Randall Park Mall. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VS35Te536Ss

    It was jammed with joyful shoppers. My newly-acquired son-in-law wanted to browse in a strange stores that sold all kinds of weapons for self-defense. One item was a boot knife. It was designed with a sheath that made slipping it inside a boot easy. Jim (s.i.l.) asked if that was a practical weapon and the clerk said “depends on the crew you hang out with.” Anyway, it was sweet mall. I forgot about it until Vice Network ran a special on demolished malls…Randall Park was a rogue skateboarding paradise. I haven’t been to a mall for ages. I can live without them.
    The apartment building: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zumper.com%2Fapartment-buildings%2Fp754%2Fthe-drake-mayfield-heights-mayfield-heights-oh&psig=AOvVaw3G9vnwL67kJALotutSMom9&ust=1617504760615000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAIQjRxqFwoTCLiSwZ-J4e8CFQAAAAAdAAAAABAD

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  42. alex said on April 3, 2021 at 10:23 am

    Wonder who’s gonna be Newt’s fourth wife and when we’ll hear the announcement. I’m guessing he’ll go for a more talented retoucher who doesn’t make his craggy jawline look like a pneumatic goiter. Ribbit. Ribbit.

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  43. Heather said on April 3, 2021 at 10:43 am

    Deborah, no one would compare you to Cally! Your hair is amazing. Also it moves.

    Mall Tawk: I worked across the street from the Oakbrook mall Peter mentions @9 for about 10 years. They did a really nice rehab about five years ago–put in all new walkways and landscaping that was really well done: lots of native/prairie plants, a reflecting pool, a very cool spiral fountain, etc. And they have a sort of “plaza” where they show movies outside and a small ice-skating rink in winter. It’s a little depressing that a commercial area functions as a sort of civic space, but whatever works I guess.

    When I worked out there I always wanted to do a multimedia project on how those kind of strip-mall suburbs offered a kind of ersatz nature for oxygen-starved office drones like me with tree plantings, artificial ponds, etc. We had nothing like that near my building, so I used to have to drive to the local forest preserve or other parks on breaks to stay sane and I definitely saw other people doing the same.

    Oh, and I worked in an Ann Taylor at the Northbrook Court mall in the swanky North Shore of Chicago when I was in high school in the 80s. Haven’t been there in years; curious as to how it’s faring.

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  44. Jakash said on April 3, 2021 at 11:42 am

    In addition to the 3 you mentioned, Deborah, the Mag Mile itself was also home to the “mall” at 700 N. Michigan, “Chicago Place” with Saks at ground level, and the “Shops at North Bridge” connected to Nordstrom’s. Too many, for sure. Frequented by me, if at all, primarily for the cheapo food courts.

    Yeah, Jeff. B, the church closings and consolidations seem to be the inevitable tangible result of so many “fallen away” Catholics in a very Catholic city that used to be identified by its parish neighborhoods. The rationale for having churches so near each other in many places is just not what it used to be.

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  45. Deborah said on April 3, 2021 at 11:58 am

    Jakash, 700 Michigan Ave failed years ago. Except for Saks which you enter on the street, it’s completely closed. At one point Spitalfields opened a cavernous store in the main body of the lobby, that only lasted a couple of years. It had a cool facade of hundreds of old sewing machines which I liked, I never actually shopped there but I liked walking past the array of sewing machines, while it lasted. Northbridge with a Nordstrom’s and some other shops doesn’t seem large enough to be considered a “mall” IMHO.

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  46. Jakash said on April 3, 2021 at 12:55 pm

    Fair enough, Deborah. I realize that 700 closed quite a while ago. I thought the point was the redundancy of the choices on the avenue, and that place represented the most unnecessary version of them all. I’m sure North Bridge doesn’t consider itself a mall, and would be outraged at even the suggestion, but its own website says it “encompasses Nordstrom, Eataly, 50 stores and 20 restaurants across six city blocks.” Seems close enough to me.

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  47. Deborah said on April 3, 2021 at 1:17 pm

    Interesting that North Bridge considers Eataly part of it. I have only ever entered Eataly from the street I don’t think you can enter any other way (?), and there are lots of shops on Ohio between Mich and Wabash but I never thought of them as being part of North Bridge I guess because you only enter them from the street. I guess technically they are part of the same building, just not what one thinks of as a standard mall, at least I don’t. I do approve though of having retail on the street instead of housed inside a larger structure. Most malls have some stores accessible on street level with independent entries but then those stores usually also have entries into the main mall space too. Older outside malls have only street entries but then the “street” has no vehicle traffic, with parking on the outskirts. Albuquerque has a new outside mall, but it hasn’t done very well. I guess I need to expand my definition of what a mall is.

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  48. Deborah said on April 3, 2021 at 1:22 pm

    I certainly used “I guess” a lot in that comment, sorry about that. I tried to edit but my iPad went crazy and wouldn’t let me, it does that sometimes.

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  49. LAMary said on April 3, 2021 at 3:25 pm

    Alvin Toffler was a futurist, wasn’t he? I went to a talk he gave at a college in Denver around 1973. Elisabeth Kubler Ross spoke there too, and Angela Davis. Loretto Heights College is no more, and it was iffy when I spent two semesters there but some interesting speakers appeared at there auditorium. I went there because I moved to Denver on short notice and needed to get myself into a college, even though most had started their fall semesters. This was caused by my father dying and leaving me pretty much without a home until the Denver brother offered his couch until I could get myself into a college and a dorm room. Loretto Heights accepted me instantly. They had a shrinking enrollment problem and a very savvy financial aid person helping me in my situation. The only famous alum of Loretto Heights was Annette Funicello. She didn’t graduate.

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  50. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 3, 2021 at 3:47 pm

    As for predictions of the future, I like this reminder of what smart people in Dayton (which in 1920 was a hub of innovation & engineering still buzzing from what those Wright boys had come up with less than twenty years earlier) thought 2020 would look like:


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  51. Mark P said on April 3, 2021 at 4:56 pm

    In the novel The Man Who Fell To Earth (Walter Tevis) an alien from a highly advanced civilization comes to Earth and uses his advanced technology to earn a fortune. Among his inventions was a very sensitive photographic film. You know, like what we use now. No, wait, no one uses film today. That’s the problem with predicting the future by extrapolating from the present— you miss everything new.

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  52. LAMary said on April 3, 2021 at 8:24 pm

    Where are all the jet packs and flying cars?

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  53. FDChief said on April 4, 2021 at 10:42 am

    I wonder how much the Death of the Mall owes to the Death of the Department Store?

    We talk about them as mall “anchor” stores, but I can’t recall the last time I thought “Gee…I really need to stop by (fill in the name of the department store) to pick up X…” Some combination of changes in the way we retail and the ineptitude of the department store management (not just customer service fails but just finding ways to make their form of retail draw) has just destroyed that business model and, as has been noted, was well on its way there well before COVID and online retail.

    I think part of that, too, is some decline in the notion of “going to the mall” as a social activity. It had a moment (was it the 80s? That’s how it feels to me, anyway) where you went and ate in the “food court”, went and played Joust in the arcade, browsed novelties at Spencer Gifts…but who does or wants to do that anymore? The food court is a fast food atrocity, games are on consoles, and if you want bizarre cheap novelty “gifts” it’s all Rule 34 all over the internet…

    I have no idea what the heck you do with the corpses, though. I’d actually be willing to blow them up, dig out the foundations, and start over as a farm field. But that’s just me.

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  54. Deborah said on April 4, 2021 at 12:12 pm

    Happy Easter everyone. Doing laundry today.

    Food courts today as fast food atrocities – good one FD Chief.

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  55. LAMary said on April 4, 2021 at 1:47 pm

    I have to admit that more than once I went to the mall to not buy anything, not eat anything and definitely not to play any games. I went to the mall because it was air conditioned which my 1935-ish house is not. Once it gets over 100 for more than one day I get cranky and whiny. I’ll go look at stuff at Macy’s for an hour, stroll slowly to the anchor at the other end and admire the costume jewelry at Nordstroms. Buy nothing. Maybe try on shoes but probably not. One year when we had one of those week long heat waves I took the clan to see the movie, “March of the Penquins.” Other times we hit the skating rink.

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  56. basset said on April 4, 2021 at 2:39 pm

    40th anniversary today, just about down to the minute right now if I remember correctly.

    We’re doing laundry too, and bringing summer clothes down from the attic.

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  57. Deborah said on April 4, 2021 at 3:01 pm

    I do that too LAMary. My husband can’t stand air conditioning so we had the unit taken out of our Chicago place, that’s why I spend the summer in NM. We usually go back to Chicago for a week or two in July and it’s usually a humid hellhole then so I hit the malls nearby just to wander.

    Don’t need AC in Northern NM, cool nights and dry days makes it completely fine even when the day temps are in the 90s which isn’t that often. We have ceiling fans in Santa Fe, which do the trick.

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  58. Julie Robinson said on April 4, 2021 at 3:04 pm

    Happy Easter to those who celebrate. And Happy Anniversary to the Bassets! Coincidentally, I’m doing laundry too; since the tablecloth got a stain I tossed it in the machine. The service this morning was enhanced by our two singing a duet and I could only wish to be there in person.

    No ham for Easter dinner, since it’s too salty for Mom. We had a ham last week without her and a turkey breast today. And cheesecake, yummo. It’s as beautiful as it’s been all year and I sat outside listening to the birds chirping and basking in the sun on my face. I think we’re going to drive around to looking for any flowers blooming. Daffodils, most likely, probably too early for tulips. A good mellow day.

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  59. Christy said on April 4, 2021 at 4:37 pm

    I’m surprised nobody mentioned libraries in malls. I saw one once near an entrance, I forget where, Seattle or Chicago probably, and it seemed to work well. No librarylike atmosphere to speak of, but that could be dealt with if the price was right.

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  60. Deborah said on April 4, 2021 at 5:03 pm

    The two malls in Santa have Post Offices, I had not seen that before. Is that a thing now?

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  61. David C said on April 4, 2021 at 5:14 pm

    Beautiful day today. Sunny and 73°. I got the bike down and took a ride. I’m a bit sun burnt like every first warm sunny day ever.

    I don’t know how the indoor mall in Appleton is doing. We haven’t been inside in years. The strip malls around town that have been vacant for years are filling up and new stores are opening even during the pandemic. I have no idea why but it’s good to see. I don’t think there are any vacant spaces in our downtown either.

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  62. Deborah said on April 4, 2021 at 5:19 pm

    Of course I meant Santa Fe.

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  63. beb said on April 4, 2021 at 5:26 pm

    The rot in the Republican party began long before Newt Gingrich. It can be found as far back as the John Birch Society in the 50s. They picked it up from McCarthy who in turn was just objecting to FDR’s New Deal. The rot, like any conspiracy theory has slowly grown over the years until now it is a gangrenous ulcer.

    When people ask “where’s my flying car?” I like ro remind them that we do have flying cars — they’re called helicopters. They’re noisy, expensive, have terrible gas mileage and a tendency to fall out of the sky. Besides, considering how people drive just on the ground do you really want them coming at you from above and below?

    The decline of the mall tracks with the hollowing out of the middle class. As disposable income declined people were less likely to buy things and when they did it would be cheaper stuff. Malls were a safe place for the elderly to exercise. It was out of the weather, offered a longish course and for early morning walking largely free of hooligans.

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  64. Deborah said on April 4, 2021 at 7:41 pm

    So true Beb that the hollowing out of the middle class was part of the collapse of malls, but malls and Walmart type places expedited the hollowing out of small town main streets and the demise of small towns in general before that, exasperated by the loss of manufacturing jobs etc it’s been a steady dissolution over decades.

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  65. Dorothy said on April 4, 2021 at 8:55 pm

    Happy anniversary to Mr. and Mrs. Bassett!

    We watched Minari on Friday night, and it was very good. I did not mind spending $20 to see a movie. We have not attended a movie in a theater in at least 15 months. And today we watched The Sound of Metal on Prime. Another excellent movie. It’s unusual in that the sound is distorted all through the movie so you are almost experiencing what the character Reuben is going through. It’s a moving and powerful film. I was especially interested in it because my daughter (who is not deaf) went to pre-school for two years at the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. In the late 80’s (and maybe beyond, I’m not sure) they had a program that you could have your child attend with hearing impaired children. The price was unbelievable. $25 for the WHOLE YEAR when she was 3, and $35 for the whole year when she was 4. By whole year, I mean September through May of course. They also required parents to help out a few times a month with the classroom, which I was able to do because my dad watched my son on the days it was my turn. I took a sign language course at the Community College level so I could try to communicate with the deaf kindergarden kids. It was an excellent experience. Sometimes I wish I had done more with this and learned more, as I lost the little bit I learned since I didn’t have regular contact with deaf people.

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