Tuesday, April 21, 2015

More Thoughts on the Gallery

Preliminary plans have been released for renovating the Gallery.  They amount to a few drawings of gleaming white spaces.  It sort of looks like a hospital or lab to me, a sterile space.  I also wonder if the mall will be willing to hire enough people to keep the floors and walls gleaming white.  Parts of the Gallery floor now are white, near the food court oddly enough, and as I walk over them they are usually stained or scuffed.  I can't imagine the entire floor being like that.  There's a reason why most homes with kids and pets have dark carpeting or flooring.  It hides the dirt and signs of heavy traffic. Gleaming floors, especially if they are at all reflective, are a hazard for the part of the population that might wear a skirt.  

The plans calls for high end outlets.  This entire concept kind of baffles me because it often isn't high quality goods at low prices.  It's lower quality goods made by companies known for luxury items.  Personally, I'm not interested in paying more to wear someone else's livery.  I've heard of Gucci and Prada but never owned anything made by them, and probably never will.  I'm too frugal to pay for the high end stuff and not fashion conscious enough to pay for low quality items that have that name on them.

However, it is clear that commuters will be kicked out while the renovations are underway.   Then after two years (probably more) of being out in the heat, cold, rain, and snow, if we're still around the owners think we will gleefully run back inside and throw money at them.  Me, I tend to carry a grudge.  After two years of regularly wet feet every time it rains I won't think kindly of them.  My commute involves multiple forms of transit with short walks in between, the longest of these currently is through the Gallery.  My feet might get wet at other places along the way but they will definitely get wet on Market St., especially if it is too crowded to use an umbrella. 

One of the news articles on the Gallery mentioned the possibility of an Italian restaurant (with white floors??!!) with a bocce court.  I don't know what that is but if it involves throwing, kicking, or tossing one object at another you don't want me doing it around other people.  As a founding member of the Physically Uncoordinated Americans for Mom and Apple Pie I know my limitations.

But, then, it is pretty clear that the new Gallery owners are not interested in my money very much at all.  All this talk of high end retailers and fancy eateries tells me I'm not their target customer.  I loved the CVS, but it closed years ago.  As ubiquitous as the chain is it was the only one I passed on a regular basis and it was great to pop in and get bandaids and hosiery (I fell on the way to the train that day), toiletries (forgot my deodorant that morning), office supplies, batteries, and all the other daily necessities that I otherwise only buy on weekends at the grocery store.  I loved Bolton's and shopped there frequently but they closed.  I went into the bookstore and the card shop.  They closed for the renovations and there's been no mention of anything like that in the renovations.  I went into whatever Stuff Mart was on the street level (K-Mart? WalMart?) but it closed.  I miss Strawbridge's but it closed years ago and whatever took it's place inexplicably didn't use the lower floor display windows.  They've been papered over for years.  I never did understand that -- all those people walking by blank windows. 

So, I am accepting my dinosaur status.  All the signs seem to read "pragmatic middle aged women with disposable income need not apply."  Or perhaps we just don't spend enough or there aren't enough of us to matter.  Earlier I wrote about my emotional attachment to the Gallery and as days go by I'm slowly accepting that this chapter in my daily life is ending.  I've mapped out my alternate transit routes but will probably hang on till the last day.  I'll force them to kick me out instead of leaving under my own steam.

One last thought in this post -- white floors?  really?  did these people never mop? 

Recent articles on the Gallery from the Inquirer:

"PREIT's $575M plan to remake Gallery," by Jeff Gammage, 4/15/15

"Shopping for a new image," by Jeff Gammage, Maria Panaritis, and Jacob Adelman 4/19/15

"In-city outlets," by Jacob Adelman 4/16/15

"Gallery's revival clears a first hurdle," by Jeff Gammage 4/17/15

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