Queens Center Mall: Premier Shopping and Dining Hub in Elmhurst, NY

The History of Queens Center Mall

Queens Center Mall, nestled in the bustling neighborhood of Elmhurst, Queens, New York, opened its doors on September 12, 1973.

This event marked a significant milestone in the commercial landscape of Queens, transforming a piece of land that once hosted Fairyland, a beloved children’s amusement park, a supermarket, and extensive automobile parking into a thriving retail hub.

The transformation from a place of whimsical joy to a center of commerce symbolizes the evolving needs and growth of the Elmhurst community.

The mall’s initial phase introduced shoppers to its original anchor tenants, Abraham & Straus and Ohrbach’s, setting the stage for a new era of shopping in Queens. These department stores were among the first to bring big-city retail to the borough, offering a wide range of products from high-end fashion to household goods.

The presence of such significant retail players underscored the mall’s importance as a shopping destination and laid the groundwork for its future expansion and success.

In the early 2000s, Queens Center Mall embarked on a major renovation and expansion project, completed between 2002 and 2004.

This ambitious endeavor nearly doubled the mall’s size, revitalizing the original structure and adding a new wing east of 92nd Street.

The expansion was about adding more space and enhancing the shopping experience with modern amenities and a wider variety of stores and services.

This period of growth solidified the mall’s status as the largest shopping center in Queens, attracting more visitors and tenants and contributing significantly to the local economy.

Throughout its history, Queens Center Mall has adapted to the changing retail landscape, continuously evolving to meet the needs and preferences of its diverse customer base.

From its humble beginnings on a plot of land filled with childhood memories to its current standing as a cornerstone of shopping in Queens, the mall has remained a vital part of the community.

As we explore things to do in Elmhurst, New York, visiting Queens Center Mall remains a top activity for locals and tourists, offering a blend of shopping, dining, and entertainment options.

Architectural Features and Design

Queens Center Mall stands out with its impressive four-story structure, encompassing a total retail floor area of 966,000 sq ft. This vast space is designed to provide visitors with a comfortable and engaging shopping environment.

The mall’s architectural design maximizes retail space while ensuring easy navigation for shoppers. This is achieved through wide corridors, clear signage, and strategic placement of escalators and elevators, facilitating floor movement.

The mall’s interior is characterized by modern aesthetics, with bright lighting, sleek finishes, and an open-plan layout contributing to an inviting atmosphere.

Attention to detail is evident in the decorative elements and seating areas, which provide comfortable spaces for shoppers to relax.

The design also incorporates large, glass-fronted storefronts, allowing natural light to flood the interior and enabling shoppers to see into stores before entering.

Queens Center Mall
Queens Center Mall” by Tdorante10 is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Accessibility is a key feature of Queens Center Mall’s design. Located at the intersection of Queens Boulevard, the Long Island Expressway, and Woodhaven Boulevard, the mall is easily accessible by car and public transportation.

It is adjacent to the Woodhaven Boulevard station on the IND Queens Boulevard Line of the New York City Subway, making it a convenient destination for shoppers across New York City.

The mall’s design and location reflect its role as a central hub in the community, catering to various shopping and social needs.

Anchor Tenants: Macy’s and JCPenney

Macy’s, one of the anchor tenants at Queens Center Mall, opened its doors in 1995. This store brought a new level of retail sophistication to the mall, offering a wide range of products from fashionable clothing to home furnishings.

Macy’s has become known for its holiday shopping traditions, particularly its 24-hour opening times during the Christmas season, a practice that began in 2006.

This initiative was a first for Macy’s stores and has since become a much-anticipated event, drawing large crowds and boosting the festive atmosphere in the mall.

JCPenney joined the Queens Center Mall in 1989, replacing the former Steinbach store. As a well-established department store, JCPenney contributed to the mall’s appeal by offering a variety of affordable clothing, accessories, and home goods.

The store has been a staple in the community for over three decades, adapting to changing consumer trends and preferences while maintaining its commitment to value and quality.

Introducing these anchor tenants marked significant milestones in the mall’s history, enhancing its retail offerings and attracting a broader customer base.

Macy’s and JCPenney have played crucial roles in establishing Queens Center Mall as a premier shopping destination in Queens, contributing to its ongoing success and popularity.

Their presence underscores the mall’s importance in the area’s retail landscape, providing shoppers with various options from affordable to upscale products.

Queens Center Mall
Queens Center Mall” by Rafahh is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Famous Stores at Queens Center Mall, Elmhurst, NY

Queens Center Mall in Elmhurst, NY, is not just a shopping destination; it’s a vibrant marketplace that caters to various tastes and preferences.

Among its numerous tenants, several famous stores stand out, each offering unique products and experiences to shoppers.

These stores are categorized into fashion, technology, beauty, and specialty items, providing a comprehensive shopping experience.

Fashion Forward

Fashion enthusiasts have plenty to explore at Queens Center Mall. A|X Armani Exchange and Michael Kors offer high-end fashion options for those looking to make a statement with their wardrobe. 

Abercrombie Kids and Hollister Co. provide trendy, casual clothing for younger shoppers. American Eagle Outfitters and Aeropostale are perfect for anyone seeking comfortable yet stylish apparel.

Footwear is still remembered, with AldoClarks, and Foot Locker offering a range of shoes for every occasion, from formal events to casual outings.

Technology and Entertainment

Tech lovers will find their haven in Apple, a leading store for the latest gadgets and accessories. 

GameStop caters to gaming enthusiasts with a wide selection of video games, consoles, and accessories. AT&T and T-Mobile provide services and products for those looking for mobile solutions to keep you connected.

Beauty and Wellness

Beauty lovers will revel in the selection at Queens Center Mall. Sephora and M.A.C Cosmetics offer diverse makeup and skincare products to enhance natural beauty. 

The Body Shop and L’Occitane provide ethically sourced and natural beauty products for those conscious of their skin’s health and the environment. 

Bath & Body Works is the go-to place for fragrances and body care products, ensuring shoppers leave smelling and feeling fantastic.

Specialty Stores

The mall houses several specialty stores for unique gifts or personal treats. Build-A-Bear Workshop offers a personalized stuffed animal experience, perfect for children and the young. 

Zales and Kay Jewelers sparkle with their selection of fine jewelry, offering timeless pieces for every memorable occasion. 3D Innovation provides custom 3D laser-engraved gifts that add a personal touch to any gift-giving moment.

Queens Center Mall in Elmhurst, NY, caters to a wide range of interests and needs, making it a premier shopping destination.

Whether updating your wardrobe, searching for the latest tech gadget, indulging in beauty products, or seeking that special gift, this mall has something for everyone.

Dining and Leisure Options

The dining scene at Queens Center Mall provides visitors with many options, ranging from quick bites to sit-down meals.

Fast-food favorites like Chick-fil-A and McDonald’s offer convenient options for shoppers looking for a quick meal.

For those seeking a more relaxed dining experience, The Cheesecake Factory and Applebee’s serve a wide range of dishes in a sit-down setting, perfect for family dinners or casual meetings.

International cuisine is well-represented in the food court, with Burmese Bites & Cbao offering Asian flavors and Chipotle Mexican Grill providing Mexican-inspired dishes. This variety ensures that there is something to suit every palate, making the mall a popular dining destination in its own right.

For dessert or a sweet treat, visitors can head to Cinnabon for freshly baked cinnamon rolls or Haagen-Dazs for a selection of premium ice cream flavors.

These outlets add to the overall shopping experience, allowing shoppers to take a break and indulge in sweet delights.

The presence of multiple dining options enhances the leisure aspect of Queens Center Mall, making it not just a place to shop but also a venue to relax and enjoy a meal.

Recent Developments at Queens Center Mall

In recent news, Queens Center Mall has been the site of significant events and developments. An attempted armored truck heist occurred in front of the mall in February 2024, drawing attention from local law enforcement and the community.

The incident involved two men whom the NYPD currently seeks for their alleged involvement in the attempted robbery.

In addition to security concerns, the mall has welcomed new retail opportunities, marking a positive turn in its commercial offerings. In 2023, International retailer Primark announced its store opening at Queens Center Mall soon.

This expansion by Primark is a significant addition to the mall’s retail landscape, offering shoppers a wide range of affordable fashion and home goods.

The arrival of Primark is expected to attract a larger customer base and boost foot traffic, contributing to the mall’s status as a key shopping destination in Elmhurst.

These events reflect the dynamic nature of Queens Center Mall, showcasing its role as a central hub for shopping and community events. The mall continues to evolve, responding to challenges and embracing new opportunities to serve the diverse needs of its visitors.

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