Empty Shopping Malls, 1985

Mall 1985

Mall 1985-2

Mall 1985-8

Mall 1985-3

Mall 1985-6

Mall 1985-7

Mall 1985-9

Mall 1985-10

Mall 1985-4

Mall 1985-5

I’ve said before that I’m comforted by images of malls as they used to be. But these shots are haunting too. I hear the echo of my footsteps on the tiles, and it sounds like the end of the world.

Nostalgia is just a longing for the cozier home and less troubled life and times we thought we had when we were younger. But when we were younger, we desperately wanted the perfect freedom we thought came with adulthood. The expression “You Can’t Go Home Again” is not quite true. You never were home.

So, if an old mall is an emulation of an ideal home (or ideal neighborhood), my wanting to wander and linger inside of it is just a longing for the idealization of a home (or neighborhood) that never really existed. Does that make me a ghost?

All of the photos above come from Jeremy Jae’s unmissable Retro Vintage Architecture and Interior Design Sets.

9 Responses to “Empty Shopping Malls, 1985”


  1. 1 His friend J August 16, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    I’m thinking that 2WTN would be happiest as a zombie forever wandering a giant shoping mall (minus the biker gang that comes by and kills him).

  2. 2 Teamcav August 16, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Yeah I was thinking total “Dawn of The Dead” (original film), when I saw these shots. Or any 80s film really. “Weird Science” or “Commando” come to mind. But anyway, you hit the nail on the head 2W2N with your statement ” we were never home,” but it surely is fun to reminisce daily!

  3. 3 leftylimbo August 17, 2013 at 5:41 am

    Ah yeah, Commando. The Sherman Oaks Galleria! The mall scene was the best.

    Dood, 5th shot down. I could swear that’s from the Westin Bonaventure downtown, with that circular layout.

  4. 4 2W2N August 17, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Chopping Mall was also shot in the SO Galleria! The Weird Science scene was in Northbrook Court, Illinois. (Now I have to go watch it again: good call, Teamcav.) I’ve been wanting to do a “Malls in Movies” feature, but not all of the footage is available.

    Lefty: The 5th shot is of the Bonaventure Mall in Minnesota:

    Bonaventure Mall Minnesota 1985

  5. 5 marshalbazaine September 11, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    Maybe you can’t ever “go home” but that’s really a function of 1) growing up and viewing the world differently; and 2) things DO physically change over time (and people from our childhood — family, friends — DO age and die). I can’t speak for others, but I certainly WAS “at home” in my chlldhood. I didn’t “think I had it” — I KNEW I had it. Look back on your childhood — if it was wonderful, then admit it! So shame there. I don’t have idealized notions of the past, beyond the normal that probably everyone gets when one has grown up and now looks at the world differently. But, at least for most kids, things WERE simpler as a kid than an adult. And I think our culture has largely gone into the toilet since the 1960s. I could cite a thousand and one examples — all together they ARE the hard reality and truth that things here in the 2000’s are simply NOT as good as things in the 1950s or 1960s. It WAS a better time to live, it was a simpler, less hurried time. And it was a far more moral and upright society then. Don’t feel any need to apologize for feeling nostalgic, or acting like the past was just some “idealized fiction”. Maybe for some, but not for all. Nostalgia is a good thing, because it makes us want to hold on to the best of the past — not just let it be torn down and forgotten.

    • 6 K.E. Roberts September 14, 2016 at 10:42 pm

      All nostalgia is “idealized fiction” because, as you say, we grow up and view the world differently, and that different perspective colors and shapes our memories of the past, which are incomplete and untrustworthy to begin with. No shame in nostalgia unless you’re clinging to the past to avoid a present you dislike. Which, for all I know, you’re doing, since the 1950s and 1960s were not exactly “good” if you were black, or a woman raped by her husband who had no legal recourse against him, if you took a bullet in Vietnam, if you lost a kid due to an asthma attack on a back road because cellphones hadn’t been invented yet, if you had to breathe unregulated pollution on a daily basis, etc.

      Nostalgia most certainly can be a bad thing.


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