Monday, May 26, 2008

Giant Cocks Penetrate Mall

What appears to be an updated photograph of the steel roosters in front of Penney's in Sunvalley Mall.

I've always considered a mall's stores to be a primary draw, not the artwork. However, in the early 70s, our views may have differed. Although as I child, I enjoyed the fountains and the birdcages.

The question or whether artwork adds value to a mall is a good one. While malls have adorned sculptures and statuary for all time (think Butano at Hillsdale Mall), what purpose does having artwork in a mall have?

Having discounted the notion that artwork in a mall is wasted on the young, I am converted. When evaluating a mall, I now examine how a mall gives back to the community. Oftentimes, this is in the form of hosting artwork. It also gives a mall an identity and tells us a little something about the architect's or mall owners' values. Compare Alameda Towne Center to The Fremont Hub. One is loaded with artwork, the other none.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wall Divides Mall

From the files of "the worst ideas, ever!" these exclusive photographs show the dividing of Eastridge Mall by two-story skybridges.

Previous to the most-recent renovation, this was the mall's idea to improve circulation and flow. However, the additional skybridges acted more as a wall and divided the once great mall.

The mysterious middle level made elevator-placement tricky. What we are looking at is their best effort. Now I understand why they wanted to remove the mystery level altogether.

These photos are courtesy of Dean Lundstrom.

See the current aerial.

Visit my review of Eastridge Mall.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Giant Escalators Moving Shoppers

A postcard I forgot I had! Another beauty of Sunvalley Mall, very similar to the previous post. This picture clearly taken a few years later (based on style of clothing).

This card, again, shows the center court, taken near the rare portals to the lower level (we affectionately called "the dungeon" in the early 80s). Visible is the B. Dalton Bookseller, which ultimately relocated between Macy's and Penney's. Music Box is still there, but the Camera Center wasn't visible or even present in the earlier postcard.

The back of the card reads "Giant escalators move shoppers swiftly from one mall level to the other at SunValley, the world's largest enclosed, air conditioned shopping center."

A question for loyal mallrats, was the blue panel above the exit always there?


Vintage Postcards: Sunvalley Mall Center Court

This postcard was a rare find! Showing the center court, complete with gold-topped information booth.

The shopping cart mystery continues! In the lower right of the picture shows a woman wheeling her cart, apparently shopping for children. Could this be the same cart as the one pictured in the exterior Penney's postcard posted earlier? Where did it come from and where is she going with it? Were shopping cards outside stores a cultural norm in the late 60s?

This postcard shows my favorite accoutrement of Sunvalley Mall, the giant light fixtures. Each bulb hosting a number of filaments to create a spectacular "explosion" of light. Bulbs similar to these can only be found today in the Princeton Plaza Mall in San Jose.

In the center rises giant metal "trees" from the lower level. Although it never dawned on me before, they look more like palm trees in this photo than they did in real life. Perhaps my perceptions have changed.

The back of the card reads "Over 120 stores are located on the two levels of the mammoth mall at Sun Valley, the world's largest enclosed, air-conditioned shopping center." The card was postally used and the author wrote "Mary, we should do this shopping center together some day! Spent 3 hours there Monday and hardly scratched the surface." Mary Carello of Syracuse, this blog post is for you.

Enjoy the card!
Read my guide to Sunvalley Mall

Visit the current Website.

See the aerial view.