Perhaps one of the largest shopping malls I have ever been to is the Palisades Center Mall in West Nyack, NY.
Rather than being built wide, this mall is built wide with 3,500,000 gross area square feet making it the second largest mall in America based on gross area.
In terms of leasable retail space, it is the 15th largest mall in America beaten by the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota and the King of Prussia Mall complex in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
The Palisades Center Mall was constructed between 1995 and 1998 and was constructed on the former site of the Dexter Press, a famous and long-time printer of postcards, a bowling alley, a car dealership, Hogan’s Diner, and landfill near an area prone to flooding because of the nearby Hackensack River.
While today’s mall features an ice rink and rides, the original plan of the mall included a roller coaster which has never been built.
Above the food court are lighting fixtures resembling roller coaster track, but they are not abandoned track since the roller coasters were planned for a portion of the mall never built.
During the mall’s construction, Pyramid, the builder, was slow to pay vendors and only vendors placing a lean against the company were paid for labor costs after significant delays.
Numerous vendors providing unsecured goods were not paid in full even after long delays and stores had to pay for their own fire and sprinkler systems that were subsequently turned over to the mall owners.
While in late 1998, Rosie O’Donnell claimed on her television show that the mall was sinking since it was built on a swamp, Thomas J. Valenti, one of the mall’s builders told viewers on Rosie’s show said that the myth was contrived by opponents of the mall.
In the end, however, the Palisades Center Mall features something for everyone and many choices in shopping, entertainment, and dining.
The east end of the mall features Circuit City, DSW, H&M, Macy’s, which formerly was a Filene’s, and an ice rink while the west end features Best Buy, Sports Authority, Steve and Barry’s University Sportswear, Modell’s, a Home Depot, a BJ’s Wholesale Club, and Target.
The ice rink is quite large and is often open to the public except for local ice skating teams that use the rink for practice and games.
The Home Depot and BJ’s Wholesale Club, two stores normally not found in enclosed shopping malls, are physically in the same building but there is no way for customers to walk from the enclosed mall to the entrances of those stores without going outside.
While not officially designated as such, the “west central” section of the mall features JC Penney, New York Sports Club, FYE, a 21-screen AMC Theatres, an IMAX theatre, Old Navy, Barnes and Noble, and Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
This section of the mall has two elevators and a set of escalators that serve the entire mall except the parking garage.
The “east central” section used to feature a CompUSA which closed recently.
It currently features a Staples, a third floor food court, and Dave and Buster’s.
Additionally, this section of the mall has four elevators, three sets of escalators, carousel, and a Ferris wheel.
There are a variety of food options at the mall.
The mall will soon have a Bravo Cucina Italiana in September 2007 replacing Romano’s Macaroni Grill, which has been at the mall since it opened.
The first floor features Amori D’italia and The Cheesecake Factory which replaced the Rainforest Café.
The Cheesecake Factory is centrally located between Bed, Bath, and Beyond and Macy’s.
The mall’s customer service center is located outside The Cheesecake Factory directly in the center of the first floor.
The second floor features a Johnny Rocket’s while a dozen of restaurants are located in the third floor food court including Blimpies, Burger King, Deliamanjoo, Desert Moon Café, Empire Buffet II, Fatburger, Little Tokyo, Mr. Smoothie, Nathan’s, Oyishi Japan, Panda Express, Sbarro, Street Corner News, and Wendy’s.
The mall has a “thEATery” on the fourth level made up of a variety of restaurants and entertainment options.
Restaurants in that section of the mall include T.G.I. Friday’s, Chili’s Grill and Bar, Café Tu Tu Tango, Buffalo Wild Wings, Q-doba Mexican Grill, Starbucks, Stir Crazy, Fox Sports Grill, Legal Sea Foods, Outback Steakhouse, Cheeseburger Cheeseburger, Dave and Buster’s, Chevy’s, Coldstone Creamery, and the Palisades Ice Rink.
The mall features Lucky Strikes, a 23,000 square foot facility with 12 bowling lanes, a 40-foot bar, a 100-seat dining room, six billiards tables, ping pong, eight rollerblade lanes for mini-bowling, and air hockey.
It’s décor has a 1930’s/1940’s feel.
A 2002 referendum to expand the mega-mall was rejected by voters who were concerned about additional traffic to local roads.
While the mall is near a highway and signs prohibit turns that would place traffic on local roads, this has not stopped residents living nearby to use the local roads rather than getting onto the often congested highway.
The failure of the referendum to pass means that the third and fourth floors remain “unfinished” and this is quite noticeable on the fourth floor’s east end which is barren except for the ice rink, four community rooms used by Rockland County organizations, an out-of-the-way restroom, elevators and escalators serving the ice rink and community rooms, several benches and two vending machines.
I was at the mall several years ago when the Barnes and Noble store first opened and work was ongoing on the fourth floor.
The Target store in the mall is quite large for the square footage seen in the typical discount store in an enclosed shopping mall.
The mall’s underground multi-level parking garage and various parking lots outside the mall are often completely full on weekends and busy holiday seasons forcing shoppers to aimlessly drive around for parking.
There are 9,729 parking spaces at the mall with a four floor parking garage with a basement level.
The mall features pay telephones, restrooms, and ATM’s on each level.
Apparently when town boards approved the mall, it was never envisioned that the mall would be as successful as it is today.
Perhaps one of the only department stores common in malls throughout the United States which is missing here is Sears.
The mall, which features more than 400 stores, restaurants, entertainment options, and services, is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Restaurants and theaters are open later.
The mall is located at the intersection of the New York State Thruway (I-87 and I-287) and Routes 303 and 59 in Rockland County.
This is located off a very busy section of the thruway and it has easy access to the highway, probably tempting barely-moving traffic in the busy summer season to stop in and take a walk rather than wait idling in their cars.
It is one of the largest malls in the New York City metropolitan area and as a result attracts a variety of customers ranging from high-end shoppers looking for the most expensive merchandise, middle class shoppers who are attracted to the mall’s mid-price stores, and low income customers who tend to walk around the mall and shop for the best deals.
Even though the mall is tall, it is wide enough to be a good exercise workout and the mall has a measured course and encourages walkers to arrive before the stores open between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. Monday through Saturday and between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Sunday.
It’s address is 1000 Palisades Center Drive in West Nyack, NY.