In New York City, where retail space comes at a high price, shopping malls are not exactly abundant. They tend to be high end, like Rockefeller Center and the Time Warner Center, where Fernando Botero’s bronze Adam and Eve statues stand in front of Williams Sonoma. If there’s a food court, it probably contains a Starbucks, not a Taco Bell or Burger King.
The rest of America (yes, there is life outside New York City) has seen the rise and rapid decline of the suburban-style shopping mall. These malls, and their food courts, featuring familiar inexpensive chains like Subway and Sbarro, started popping up in the 1950s. The Viennese architect Victor Gruen, who first outlined his plan for a shopping mall in a 1952 article in Progressive Architecture, had hoped that creating these huge retail spaces would combat suburban sprawl, and create a sort of simulated downtown for the suburbs that could be found in cities.
Today, about a third of these shopping malls are “dead” or dying—unable to fill vacant space—according to The Atlantic Cities. Previously, we showed you the abandoned Burger King on Governor’s Island. We recently came across this article in PolicyMic with photos of an abandoned food court in the White Flint shopping center in North Bethesda, Maryland. Check out the eerie images:
All photos by Jeremy via Duck Pie.