The Inception of a Retail Landmark
The Queens Center Mall, an urban shopping hub in the heart of Elmhurst, Queens, NYC, has a rich history dating back to September 12, 1973.
This retail behemoth was born on a plot of land previously home to Fairyland, a children’s amusement park that brought joy to countless young hearts. The land also housed a supermarket and automobile parking, serving the everyday needs of the local community.
The mall’s birth marked a significant shift in the use of this land, transforming it from a place of amusement and daily chores to a bustling center of commerce.
The original anchor tenants, Abraham & Straus and Ohrbach’s were well-established department stores that attracted a steady stream of shoppers. Their presence was pivotal in the mall’s success, setting a solid foundation for its future growth.
A Period of Transformation and Growth
As the new millennium dawned, the Queens Center Mall embarked on a significant expansion and renovation journey. Between 2002 and 2004, the mall nearly doubled in size, a testament to its growing popularity and the increasing demand for diverse shopping experiences.
This expansion was not merely an addition of retail space. It was a complete transformation that breathed new life into the mall.
The original structure was renovated, and a new wing was added east of 92nd Street. This expansion allowed the mall to accommodate a broader range of stores and services, catering to the evolving needs of its patrons.
The Pillars of the Queens Center Mall: Anchor Tenants
Today, the Queens Center Mall is anchored by two retail giants: Macy’s and JCPenney. These stores, along with over 200 others, offer a diverse shopping experience to visitors. From high-end fashion to everyday essentials, the mall provides a one-stop solution for shoppers’ needs.
The mall’s food court, located in the basement, is another major draw. With various dining options, it caters to multiple tastes and preferences, providing a culinary respite for shoppers.
Over the years, the mall has seen several anchor tenants come and go. Ohrbach’s, one of the original anchors, closed its doors in 1987, making way for Steinbach.
However, Steinbach’s tenure was short-lived, and it closed in 1990, paving the way for JCPenney. Abraham & Straus, another original anchor, closed in 1995 and was replaced by Macy’s.
Unique Features and Unforgettable Events
The Queens Center Mall has been the site of several unique features and unforgettable events. One such instance occurred during the 2006 Christmas shopping season.
The Macy’s store in the mall decided to stay open 24 hours a day, becoming the first Macy’s store to do so. This initiative set a new precedent for all-day operating hours during the Christmas shopping season, a practice that continues today.
However, not all events at the mall have been cause for celebration. On March 8, 2019, an appearance by rapper A Boogie wit da Hoodie was abruptly canceled. The cancellation led to a riot and looting by disappointed fans.
The mall was evacuated, and several stores, including Foot Locker, were looted. Despite this unfortunate incident, the mall has continued to implement measures to ensure the safety and enjoyment of its patrons.
Recent Developments and Future Prospects
The Queens Center Mall continues to evolve and adapt to the changing retail landscape. New stores such as Primark and Zara were recently announced to open in 2023, adding to its diverse retail options.
These new additions and the mall’s ongoing commitment to providing a safe and enjoyable shopping environment ensure that it remains a vital part of the Elmhurst community.
As it looks to the future, the Queens Center Mall is poised to continue serving as a hub of retail and community life in Elmhurst. With its rich history, diverse offerings, and commitment to growth and adaptation, the mall is more than just a shopping center.
It is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of the Elmhurst community, a symbol of its past, and a beacon for its future.