Yesterday, after the Sisterhood Shabbat in the morning but before we had theatre in the evening, I had an eye doctor appointment in Glendale. This, of course, afforded me the opportunity to hit some of my favorite stores to look for used records and books — Brand Bookshop, the Goodwill store in Glendale, and the Mystery and Imagination Bookshop. Even after hitting those shops, we still had some extra time before the show, so we decided to mall it. Specifically, we decided to go down the street at bit and see Americana at Brand.
For those not familiar with Americana at Brand, it is a Rick Caruso-special outdoor shopping mall similar to The Grove. Upscale shopping. Hipsters. Almost like a shopping Disneyland. There were a few stores of interest (41 Olive, Sur La Table), but mostly they were overpriced chains appealing to hipsters with too much money and not enough smarts to spend it wisely. However, it was really fun to people watch there; “beautiful people” combined with hipster fashion can be quite entertaining. Will we go back? Probably only if we need to hit a specific purpose.
But if you notice, I titled this post “A Tale of Two Malls”. The other mall is directly across the street: the Glendale Galleria. It is owned by General Growth Partners, who also manage the Northridge Fashion Center near our house (as well as the Fallbrook Center). It is much older, opening in 1976 (5 years after Northridge). It has a very dated look, with lots of brick facades and hard surfaces. As you walk through the convoluted pathways of the mall (which grew like the Winchester Mystery House), you see a decidedly different mix of shoppers from Americana across the street. The shoppers at the Galleria are not there for the occasional upscale Teavana — they are there for the Target and the JCP and are much more mid-scale. They are in the midst of a remodel, presumably due to competition from Americana across the street. It will be interesting to see if GGP can figure out how to turn the old enclosed mall model around to successfully complete with a Caruso-special.
Music: Sing of Our Times (The Brothers Four): “Take This Hammer”