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”!!