Apr 302015

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.

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 Posted by at 9:17 pm

  10 Responses to “My final exploration of Madison Square Mall’s decay”

  1. I walked through that mall once. I was there at Sears buying a treadmill, and thought I would do a walk-through to see what else was there while I waited for them to get it out of the warehouse area.

    It was a ridiculously creepy place to be – and I don’t spook easily.

    • Connie, I wish you could have seen it 20 years ago. It was a neat place to be. I hope it will be again.

  2. WOW! I do remember when it was the place to be. This is crazy and weird! Thanks for posting the photos and doing the exploration for me.

    • Totally bizarre. It’s unsettling to be there, in the middle of that space, and think “something terrible could happen to me right here and no one would see it.”

      In the middle of a mall.

  3. I had not been in the mall for more than 5 years. Then, last year, I needed something from Radio Shack (while they were still there.) I had never really understood the term surreal, until I walked the empty expanse of the mall. Seeing the mall so empty, I found myself reminiscing of what once inhabited each storefront. I recalled various items I had purchased inside many of these now-empty locations. Apparently, management gave up a long time ago of covering empty store windows. A few locations that had once had paper in the windows, had been empty so long that the paper had either sagged or completely fallen off the glass.

    I graduated high school in 1992, and Madison Square Mall was a very important “base camp” for all social activities. So many memories of simply walking the crowded mall, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Never knowing which “high-school-hero” you might run into, as all the “cool kids” hung out at Madison Square on the weekends. Not just the cool kids were there, Madison Square didn’t discriminate. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, d!ckheads – they all adored Madison Square. They thought it was a righteous place. (I may have possibly stolen this quote)

    On the weekends, Madison Square Mall is where EVERYONE was, or planning on being. This is where WZYP would have most of their important events. If you were a “tween” or teen in 1987-91, this is only added more credibility to the importance of Madison Square. I still remember in 1987or88 shopping in Castner Knott (probably for a new color Coca-Cola shirt to add to my collection) and feeling the building rumble. It was the closest thing to an earthquake I’d ever expereinced, the Sparkman Cheerleaders had taken the stage in Madison Square Mall’s center court for a local cheerleader competition. Apparently, all of Sparkman were there to cheer them on…

    For me, walking the empty Madison Square Mall is very similar to visiting the grave site of one of your best friends from high school. It is but a skeleton of the emotion, joy and love that once occurred upon those beloved grounds.

    • Thanks for taking the time to share your memories so thoroughly, Rob, and I know what you mean. When you walk through there and remember what was where, what you bought, who you were with, and so forth—it’s almost like talking to ghosts, isn’t it?

  4. one time after working the madison farmers market i went to the mall to check it out, not being from the area i didn’t know it had fallen out of fashion… it was very empty of stores in 2012, but it had quite a few people milling about, older mall walkers, teenagers and people just sitting and doing nothing. it was kind of weird. there was a really cool old “head shop” type alternative store that was literally straight out of 1997. it made me super nostalgic for this shop in charlotte my best friend and i used to go to to buy bootleg cassette tapes of new albums from one of the stoners that worked there. its also where i bought my first pot related stuff as an underaged teenager with a giant ball-chain necklace and kook-aid died green hair…. the shop in madison square had a bunch of old bumper stickers for my vanagon including all new old stock Alice in chains, HOLE and a “kill your tv” classic. i also got a cool crystal and some nag champa.. it was so cool it felt like i was a teenager again.. i went back a few months later to see what else they had and when i got there the shop was completely gone… only the incense smell lingered in the well-trod carpets…. it was like a hipster mirage…

    • I remember that shop, Margot. At one time it was called Mark’s Imports, though I don’t remember whether it kept that name all the way to the end. It was on the upper level, right next to JCPenney.

  5. Ah…the site of one of my more stupid observations many years ago. You know what I’m talking about.

    • My dear Melanie, you’re so brilliant so much of the time that I refuse to give that story blog time, even though I laughed right out loud at the memory of it. 🙂

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