The other day I was speaking with a friend of mine and it came up in conversation that since moving to Manhattan I had never been off the island to visit Target or any other large big box store. When we moved here, we got rid of both of our cars and have been happily getting around NYC and beyond using public transit. However, I have to admit I had been missing (just a little bit) getting into a car, driving to a store, leisurely pushing a cart around wide open aisles and shoving purchases into a trunk. So, on that note, my friend Claire invited me to join her on an ‘errands run’ that would be taking her to The Container Store, Target and The Westchester Mall. We picked up her car at the parking garage and sped off down the Hudson River Parkway to embark on our shopping adventure.
It was a beautiful, sunny day and the drive was quite pretty taking us out of the city along the Hudson Parkway up through the Bronx, into Riverdale, past Yonkers and to our final destination of White Plains, NY. Soon we were in the ‘burbs passing gas stations, movie theatres, stand alone shops, chain restaurants and of course the big box store. We pulled into the parking lot of The Container Store grabbed a cart and strolled through the air conditioned retail, uh, mecca.
Our next stop was the The Mall. Now, just for reference, when I think of “The Mall”, this is what comes to mind: circling the parking lot trying to find a suitable spot that is not miles away from the main door, cheesy instrumental pop music being piped through the cheap tinny speakers, rows and rows of stores book ended by a large department stores such as Sears, The Bay or even a Walmart, a food court consisting of every fast food restaurant that your body does not need to eat from and of course, roaming bored teens huddled in masses at various locations. So, I was extremely unprepared for The Westchester Mall.
First of all, the parking lot is a paid parking area. There is also VIP concierge parking available if you don’t feel like actually parking your car. We parked at one of the department store entrances- Nordstrom’s and walked in. Just like any other mall we went up an escalator and through the store to get to the stores in the main mall area.
And Voila! Hello Mall!
Wide open shopping spaces, no crowds, everything in one place, but wait something was a bit different than the malls I was used to…
I started looking at the stores in this mall and that is when I looked at Claire and laughed. This was no ordinary joe mall. In fact, I felt like 5th Avenue had been scooped up and put into one fancy building. We passed Tiffany’s, Coach, Louis Vuitton, Kate Spade, Juciy Couture, Pottery Barn, Burberry and list could go on… Yep, this was not exactly like the malls I was used to shopping at in Ottawa.
Luckily, for my husband and his credit card we spent very little time at the mall as Claire had to only do a quick return, but I have to admit I did enjoy my first visit to the big department store Neiman Marcus where I may have drooled over a few Manolo Blahniks =) I know that there are many “normal” malls all over New York but I just can’t help but laugh that the first one I get to visit was just like strolling through Manhattan. For the record, I never did see the food court and there were very few teens hanging out.
Our real destination for the day was Target and I was more than a little giddy about perusing the rows and rows of stuff that I probably really didn’t need but was going to buy anyway because it was such a good deal and I couldn’t get in the city. Yes, we did need “Phineaus and Ferb” bandaids and “A Little Mermaid” beach bucket- don’t judge 😉
Overall, it was a super fun day. A nice mini-escape from the city. Fun shopping with a good friend, sharing laughs and chatting. Best of all was being dropped off at the door, retrieving my bags from the trunk and walking into my apartment building. A nice treat and a fun reminder of what life used to be like when shopping at the big box store and the mall was the norm. A big THANK YOU to Claire for patiently answering all of my questions and being such an excellent guide =)