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Mall Santa: 1957

Circa 1956-57. "Urbanism -- USA. Mid-Island Plaza in Long Island, New York." So where's the Cinnabon? 35mm color transparency, Paul Rudolph Archive. View full size.

Circa 1956-57. "Urbanism -- USA. Mid-Island Plaza in Long Island, New York." So where's the Cinnabon? 35mm color transparency, Paul Rudolph Archive. View full size.


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Two Other Examples

This very much reminds me of Glendale Mall in Indianapolis. The mall had been enclosed when I arrived in late 1981, but it retained the Mid-Century Modern ambiance, along with some quirky amenities such as a fountain with moving parts all made of copper, a chandelier made out of many glass tubes, a 20-foot diameter circle on the Terrazzo floor that had the signs of the zodiac on pedestals around the perimeter containing a daily horoscope, and an indoor sidewalk cafe. Today, the center part of Glendale is gone, and the remaining two structures have been "demallified." (Is that a word?)

Before moving to Indy, I lived in Columbus, Ohio. All the 1950s malls had been enclosed except Westland. Even though Westland was on the other side of town from me, I drove clear over there because the enclosed malls (such as my own Northland) were oppressive to me. In the summer of 1981, Westland was enclosed and I stopped going there.

Jericho Native

I lived in West Birchwood in the 60's, starting when I was 6 years old. We'd get on our bicycles in the morning and roam around all day. There was a tunnel under the Northern State Parkway that gave us access to the Cantiague Park and Pool. Often we'd then head over to the Plaza to hang out and grab a slice of Sicilian pizza at Pizza D'Amore. There was a merry-go-round in the northeastern part of the plaza. Then home for dinner.

Oakridge Shopping Centre: 1959

When it opened in Vancouver, B.C., in 1959 Oakridge was not an enclosed mall as it later became. It was anchored by Woodward's Department Store, and was not in an outer suburb. Now the same location is being developed with multiple high-rise residential towers adjacent to a rapid transit station. The 1950s design is remarkably similar to the Long Island mall. Woodward's huge food floor had staff that loaded the groceries into your car for you.


This early version of the shopping mall – before they were all transformed or built in the covered-over version – makes me think of streets in other countries where they have arcades which provide protection at street level from the weather. It’s pleasant to be outdoors while it’s raining and not need an umbrella.

Also, as someone, like JennyPennifer, who was born in 1957, I always twitch when I see that year.

[Our photo is a visual representation of the definition of "mall" -- an open, unroofed plaza, lined with buildings or trees on either side. - Dave]

This reminds me --

of those long-ago days when you had to actually go places to get stuff.

It just needs horns

That Santa would do much better as Krampus.

Santa? Or Satan?

That is a horrifying visage.


Amazing that this photo is 60+ years old, it looks like it could be today. The lack of period cars and clothes makes it timeless.

Lerner Shops

I was born in 1957 and I remember even as a kid, enjoying window shopping at Lerner's when out with my mom. And I loved it when I was old enough to shop there for cute outfits with my own money in the '70s. The store was founded by Harold Lane along with Samuel Lerner, uncle of lyricist Alan Jay Lerner.


"A Will-o’-the-wisp is a phantom light that hovers in the wilderness, luring travelers ..." And shoppers.


That Long Island haze of the mid-20th century. That's the bluest most skies ever got there.

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