Yesterday, out of curiosity, I stopped at the Cincinnati Mills Mall to see what an open mall looks like with no stores in it. Well, not entirely no stores: there is a hunting & fishing store, a Kohl’s, and some batting cages. There’s a vintage arcade, and some sort of bungee ride that looked as if it might catapult a kid through the glass roof. There were vacant stores with their entrances covered in sheets of black plastic waving in the draft of the still running AC. I stuck my hand behind one black plastic sheet and chills ran through my arm.
No kiosks. No food court. Just corridor upon empty corridor of piped music (“circle in the sand, round and round…”) and late eighties pastels.
I love this place so much.
It wasn’t as empty as I’d expected. It was the last of the really hot days, and people were taking advantage of a wide open cool public space. There were walkers, entire families of walkers, kids’ sneakers squeaking along the waxed tiles. There was a man reading peacefully in a chair in the vast central courtyard, next to what may have once been a Sunglass Hut. There was an indoor playground beneath one of the skylights, where kids climbed on orange and green plastic shapes, reaching towards the light.
I stood at the info desk for a moment. I don’t know what I was expecting.