Monday, January 14, 2013
One Final Look
The Palm Beach Mall in West Palm Beach, FL was built in the late '60s, the first of its kind in South Florida. In its golden era it was a sparkling consumer paradise where countless memories were made. A beautiful fountain held court in the center and greeted visitors to the original 67 stores.
My friends and I rode the city bus to Jordan Marsh and would spend many hours having pizza at Sbarro, saying "add an egg" at Orange Julius, rifling through the naughty novelties at The Barefoot Mailman, trying on clothes at Lord & Taylor, and purchasing music at Spec's, where in the 80s you reached through a hole in a pane of glass to grab a cassette that you would drop on a conveyor belt that led to the cashier. There was a movie theater that was once a premiere multiplex, later a second run discount house. I remember peeking in one door to glimpse a few seconds of ANIMAL HOUSE when I was 9.
Other malls to the north and south were built in the late 1980s and by the mid 90s, the Mall was on a fast decline, culminating in the death of a Chik-fil-A worker who was shot in the food court. Things were especially grim as the 2000s wore on. It became a very unwelcoming place. One of my co-workers was robbed outside the front entrance.
Tenant after tenant packed up and moved, leaving only J.C. Penney, there from Day One and open for business still. They will be assuming another spot on the property after demolition which begins this week. A new outlet mall is scheduled to open late this year or early next.
Before the fall: A last look at what remains of the Palm Beach Mall | CLIK/HEAR | Multimedia, photography, video showcase of The Palm Beach Post