Mark Jones

Hi,I'm Mark Jones

(I wrote about the Naugatuck Valley Mall)

Sorry, I'm a bit shy but oddly enough when it comes to talking on the internet, I definitely state my position on issues, and provide all source of historical detail when it comes to related to retail and malls.

So who am I? I'm one of the people who grew up in the last decades of the 20th Century,as you may know the 90's.

Born in 1987, I lived through one of the most interesting periods in history,when Nicklodeon was all the rage to kids and had it's own studios in Florida,where the phrase "tween" barely was invented yet,when Toys R Us ruled the toy market, when TV first started going 24 hours, and when The WB channel made it's debut on the airwaves.

Ah yes it was a decade where the only unethical thing our president did was having an affair with a woman that wasn't his wife. A time where America was still making it's own style of cartoons, where the latest video games had 8-bit and 16-bit graphics where names like Sega Genesis, and Super Nintendo were considered brand new.

What a decade, wasn't it?

I also lived in a more unique time period where Connecticut was considered a "quiet corner",yep back then we hardly had a Wal*Mart,never even heard names as the likes of Target or Lowes. Instead, mainly local and now defunct companies ruled the retail scene. Stores such as the names of NU*Stars, a discount department store which clinged to it's 1960's image, Davidson & Leventhal, G.Fox, Caldor, Ames, Nobody Beats the Wiz, Media Play, Bradlees, Service Merchandise, Encore Books, Price Buster Foods,and many other chains were staples of everyday Connecticut life.

But the malls I remember the most,they were the swankiest shopping centers I've ever seen! From the oddly decorated Farmington Valley Mall, with it's half corrugated industrial sided half pastel colored speckled dark granite exterior. That had a dark lit, bricked floored wooden paneled interior,illuminated by fake skylights and globe lighted chadeliers. All topped off with a squarish earth toned rainbow-over-black horse and carriage sillouete logo. To the rustic brick and Tudor styled Naugatuck Valley Mall complete with roofs over storefronts and waterwheels. To the Westfarms mall which was still in it's 70s incarnation of wooden-paneled planters and dividers, with sunken seating areas, and fountains. These malls were radically different compared to todays image of malls.

Instead of seeing the likes of Victoria's Secret or Ambercrombie and Fitch you were more likely to see Freindly's, Casual Corner, or Kay Bee Toys. Things have radically changed since then before you had malls complete with restaurants, and by all means they weren't the likes of chains such as Ruby Tuesday, Friday's or the Olive Garden,no I mean real, actual sit-down-and-eat-with-no-TV-or-quick-ordering restaurants,ones that didn't have a commercial type or crowded atmosphere,that were INDEPENDENTLY owned. Neither were food courts widely used back then, the eating places were mixed in with the rest of the stores. Back then this rush-rush atmosphere hardly even existed, people still strolled through the mall,and weren't squished by overused kiosks,things such things as candy stands and ice cream stands existed to a degree.

Times have changed for sure,and I've realized while malls were great the big mistake was building one on nearly every street corner,per say. Malls unfortunately also have contributed to sprawl,and ruined previously uninhabited areas,and their parking lot's arn't a help to the soil,nor to the environment. Sigh, I guess you get what you pay for, this however doesn't spoil the fact that I have lived in interesting times.

But the fact of the matter is malls have to smarten up, or risk getting left by the wayside. Mall of America's promise to use environmental friendly techniques in it's expansion project seems hopeful, but we'll see what happens with that. I'm not 100% against malls though I'm both for malls and nature,but the environment is a tad more important to me, since our survival depends on it.

One thing I hope malls do is stop being considered private property, because it's the public who goes there,and they shouldn't be revoked of their constitutional free speech rights,just because it "disturbs the peace". However I still don't believe acts such as vandalism, violence, crude behavior, and shoplifting should be allowed.

We'll anyway thats a brief look into who I am, and remember don't believe everything the media says about a malls crime rate, unless the crimes happen almost on a daily basis like an everyday thing, the medias coverage is usually hyped. I've been to two malls that have been recently reported of having crime, Buckland Hills mall where there was a case of people selling drugs,and a car jacking and Westfarms where a fugitive was found hiding near the mall, there was a mugging there, and shoplifting there also. Yet whenever I went to these malls I didn't witness one crime at all, the only time I felt "unsafe" was in Buckland Hills where I was separated from my parents for a brief long moment,but even then I didn't completely panic, sure I cried but I wasn't completely hopeless. Besides those malls arn't even considered dangerous in their reputation compared to the Brass Mill Center!

Thats right in the middle of Waterbury! Which is considered the next worst area in crime to Hartford, an area considered so seedy that they have mall patrol cars, driving around the mall 24 hours a day! Yeah, I guess my family and I are pretty brave to be in an area like that, I guess we're risk takers after all.

Besides,if you feel uncomfortable/unsafe shopping in a certain mall well then just leave. But in most cases perception of crime is usually hyped,the exception in Connecticut is probably Hartford,I don't spend a lot of time there. In any case mostly malls are safe,however.......just don't stay too long after dark.

5/27/2007 - Thanks Mark! I appreciate your participation and example setting for others by sharing your views and ideas! Welcome to Mall Memories! df