Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The "Mall" thing

To Whom It May Concern,

Recently I was driving around in my automobile trying to get to the Edison train station. There is no way to do this without having to pass by the so-called Middlesex “Mall”. I put mall in quotations because I truly believe that we are kidding ourselves and doing a great injustice to the mall industry by labeling the set of stores on Stelton Road a mall.

One obvious reason why this “mall” isn’t really a mall is that you don’t have to go inside to access any stores. People go to malls not just to shop in the stores they see from the outside but also to explore the smaller stores inside. There’s no excitement when one enters the Middlesex “Mall.” No merry-go-round, no random Irish store, nothing. One already knows what stores are in the “Mall” without having to go inside. Where’s the excitement in that? Even the dirt mall deserves the mall designation more than the Middlesex “Mall.” There’s always excitement there.

Thinking of this persuasion leads one to believe that the Middlesex “Mall” could just be re-classified as a strip mall but problems still exist. The electric sign, for example. The sign stands proudly over Stelton Road, supposedly letting consumers know that this is the place to shop. Well, see, the thing is…the sign is NEVER fully lit. I have lived in Middlesex for 13 years now and I have yet to see that sign glowing brightly with all of the letters lit up. I am sure I am not the only one who giggled with their friends when we drove by and saw “SEX ALL” lighting up the night sky. When the sign says “MID MLL” why bother to even light it? Therefore, if we let the “mall” be re-designated a strip mall the sign would still have every right to burn brightly and wrongly for eternity.

Furthermore, why does this “mall” have to tarnish the name of Middlesex Borough? I get it that it’s named for Middlesex County but still I can’t help but think that our little 3.5 mile2 town does not need the added burden of trying to explain away this “mall.” Our mascot is the frigging blue jay for goodness sake. Rename it the Stelton Strip Mall. There’s alliteration and 3 more letters that can be lit or not lit, depending on how the sign lighting gods feel. Or if Middlesex must be in the name why not Promenade instead of Mall? It worked for Bridgewater.

People living in New Jersey can name at least three malls that are within a half hour of them. I don’t know one person within a half hour driving radius of the Middlesex “Mall” that would actually count it as one of their three. Just try to compare the Middlesex “Mall” to a real mall like Menlo Park. It’s like comparing a White Castle cheeseburger to a three-course meal. They just aren’t of the same caliber.

As a New Jerseyian I am proud of our malls and for that reason I take the mall designation very seriously. We must join together and do what we can to eliminate such false idols that mar the image of our malls. No more “SEX ALL”!!

8 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Dude, everything you wrote basically sums up everything that we have complained about for YEARS!!! It's so accurate. Rock on, Fossemeister!! NO MORE MIDDLESEX MALL. If you start a petition, I would like to be the first signature...

~Erin
(i forgot to sign my name the first time...)

Anonymous said...

Elyse, is everything ok up there? Is there not enough going on up there that you must write a blog (longer than many term papers I've done) on the Middlesex Mall and why it shouldn't be named so? Just kidding! I randomly check your blog every now and then and thought this was hysterical. To think that the Middlesex Mall bothers you that much. Keep posting. You keep me entertained while at work. Love it!

Miss you,
Stephanie

Anonymous said...

Elsie Foss. KUDOS KUDOS!!!!

The "Middlesex Mall" one of the great running jokes to all Middlesexians. I will gladly join you in a letter writing campaign to our local congressman. Perhaps we can stage a protest outside in the "mall" parking lot...near that boarded up bank that used to be a Roy Rogers.

In addition to your novella, I'd like to add for those not familiar to the area and the "Shopping Unit" that the sign used to say "OVER 55 stores" underneath the 'Sex all' ...in fact, i think there were times when it would flash "OVER 5 stores". Is this something to brag about?? Real malls consist of levels and have food courts. This poor excuse for shopping spree is merely a strip mall brought indoors...Even in its glory days when there were in fact a movie theater and a pretzel cart.

Needless, to say the name has always tarnished the reputation of the little Italian town(home of actress Paige Price)that we grew up in.


I would also like to note the "Mall" is located next to the TACO BELL which started the recent tri-state Ecoli outbreak.

Thank you.

Again, KUDOS!!!!

-Allison

Ex Jersey Resident said...

The Middlesex Mall started out as just that. It was opened in 1969 on a site that used to be Hadley Airport. It was developed by Englehardt Industries and was a full service mall until the early 90's when it lost it's anchor stores, Sterns and K Mart (which used to be Grants) (a now long closed department store). The United Artist Theatre also closed in the early 90's prompting the owners to revamp the mall and turn it into a strip center which is becoming the trend for old indoor malls of this type. It was either convert and update or demolish as what is happening to Midtown Plaza Mall in Rochester NY after 45 years and many memories.

Elyse said...

The latest update is that the sign has been refurbished and brings the look of the Middlesex Mall up to the standard of the other strip malls that are all around. There is no more "Sex All."

kisstar said...

lol i agree....it's not a mall at all

Anonymous said...

"Ex Jersey Resident" has it right. What's the big deal?
The real issue is suburban sprawl, and corporations always looking to increase growth (something which has helped put the economy where it is now), not outdated names. Middlesex Mall is probably one of the oldest places to shop along Stelton Road in South Plainfield or Piscataway. And it's been going downhill for a while. Yet there's still been lots of commercial construction in the past few years. It makes me wonder if the beloved malls of today will be torn down or boarded up a generation or two from now.