Remembering Latham Circle Mall, now a “dead mall” [OPINION]
Posted by: Cat Benincasa
Published on: August 11th, 2012 at 11:59 AM
Do you know what a “dead mall” is?
A “dead mall,” according to wikipedia, is “a shopping mall with a high vacancy rate or low consumer traffic level, or that is dated and deteriorating in some manner.”
Dead malls were thriving malls at one point. They were once home to successful businesses and scores of customers. They were once active places of commerce, a small microcosm of life in the shape of shops and people.
Latham Circle Mall was just this way once upon a time.
I remember going there as a child and enjoying it. It was a bright, vivid place, full of hustle and bustle and interesting things to see and do. My first art show was held in Latham Circle Mall, and I have fond memories of that day. But over the course of a decade or so it gradually declined, eventually becoming the dead mall it is today.
If you go to Latham Circle Mall, the first thing that will hit you is the smell. I don’t recommend visiting it if you have sensitive lungs or a history of respiratory issues, because the scent is truly overpowering. It’s musty and moldy, like an old basement that’s been flooded out one too many times, and it pervades every inch of air there.
The second thing that you’ll notice is the silence. It is eerily, utterly silent in Latham Circle Mall, leaving you with nothing but your thoughts and the echo of your own footsteps.
The footpaths are lined with row after row of abandoned storefronts, gutted and empty except for bits of debris and trash. The escalators are frozen, and the little fountain located beside them is completely dry. The lights are discolored or broken entirely, the tiles are cracked, the walls and ceilings are peeling, and everything in general is in a sad state of decay.
To me, it is a desolate yet poignantly beautiful place, a mournful reminder of the passage of time in my lively hometown. I like the mildly bittersweet sense of nostalgia it evokes in me; I like letting my imagination run wild as I half-remember, half-contemplate what it was like in its (my) younger days.
I’ve heard that the man who owns Latham Circle now, one Richard Ellis, is going to gut and partially tear it down so he can turn it into an open-air strip mall. I wish him luck, and I honestly hope he succeeds. The mall is probably a health hazard now, and it’ll be good to see some life re-introduced to that chunk of real estate in Latham again.
Besides, if there’s one thing that Latham Circle Mall has taught me, it’s that things change, and that I might as well embrace those changes.
Have you ever been to Latham Circle Mall? If you have, what do you think of it? Do you have any personal memories from being there? Are you glad it’s going to be torn down? Give us your 2cents.