Today was the first full day it was public that Madison Square Mall had been sold. So how could I not visit?
The vacancy count—the last one I’ll undertake—is 70, up from 57 the last time I checked. It would have been much easier to count the occupied locations. That I specifically noticed, University Collectables, a used computer place, the massage chair place, the slot car track, and the shoe repair guy in the southwest corner are now gone. Mall stalwarts like f.y.e., FootLocker, and Bath & Body Works soldier on.
To lunch. Since my last visit, Sakkio has fallen, as has A Family Affair.
So there are now three functioning eateries in the food court: China King (what it sounds like), Cajun Express (a “Cajun” place serving egg rolls and fried rice), and Greek Gyros. The Greek place is actually pretty good, and the owner is a personable fellow.
There were exactly three other people eating lunch with me in the food court. There were another two young men whose agendas weren’t immediately apparent, but it wasn’t ridiculous to suppose they were less than honorable.
I had gyro smell on my fingers when I got done, but decided I wasn’t going to the restroom. It didn’t feel safe. The desolation is spectacularly surreal.
You could be held up at gunpoint in the middle of the mall and it’s likely no one would see it. If I were a woman, I would not go to Madison Square alone, even in the middle of the day.
With this post, I close my systematic exploration of Madison Square Mall’s decay. That chapter is over. Something new is afoot.
I hope that Madison Square Mall is redeveloped into something that still encourages me to visit.