Welcome to the American Mall Project, an attempt to document and examine Generation X’s love affair with America’s malls. In a time when malls are being remodeled into homogeneity, shuttered forever, or worse, razed and lost to history, I want to preserve the memories of a generation who came of age in those popcorn-scented concourses.
It’s an examination, not just of the cultural phenomenon of the suburban mall itself, but of a childhood spent there. What did it mean to us to grow up in malls, with MTV and cable, with missing kids on milk cartons and two working and/or divorced parents? Our parents were the first to grow up with television – the first generation of teenagers – but we were the first to grow up on a diet of soft pretzels and caramel corn, arcade games and record stores. What did it do us? What does it mean to have our second homes, our third parents, our playgrounds and consumer sanctuaries disappear?