Tuesday, August 19, 2008


This past weekend, I drove all the way to Glendale to visit two places I've been meaning to go to for awhile: the Americana at Brand and the Target in the Glendale Galleria.

Despite having a degree in Urban and Regional Studies and having had the idea that malls are bad for cities (and perhaps bad for the soul) constantly drilled into my brain, I actually like going to malls. Being a Southern California native, it is very comforting for me to walk into one, wherever I may be. I didn't mention it at the time, but when I was in B.Aires, I spent time at two malls in between doing all the cultural stuff: the tony Patio Bullrich and my favorite, Abasto, a nice adaptive reuse of the gorgeous former central produce market. Abasto also has a well-designed modern food court, where I was able to try Argentine fast food and soak up all food branding. (One day, I will write about my love for food courts.)

In any event, regarding the Glendale Galleria, combining a mall with another thing I love, Target, is a stroke of genius. I've never been a big fan of the Galleria's design (both inside and out), and I'm still not a fan, but because it has a three-story Target, it automatically gets more points. (My favorite Target/mall combination is the Westfield Topanga... Target, H&M, puppies, Nordstrom, awesome food court, natural light, free parking, Shoe Pavilion and a steak from the Farm all in one place!)

Regarding the Galleria's next-door neighbor, the Americana at Brand, let me first say that I like its sister, the Grove, much better. For me, the developer, Rick Caruso, took a little of the charm and coziness of the Grove away when he increased the scale and open space at the Americana. For sure, the Americana is much more integrated into the local surroundings than the Grove is, which is good since it's already located in a thriving commercial business district, but perhaps because it is juxtaposed with the more real street retail of Brand, it just feel more sterile and fake. Whereas with the Grove, because it is somewhat contained, you do feel like you're being separated from reality a bit and are able to more easily buy into the illusion.

The only highlight of my Glendale trip was the Beard Papa stand at the Americana, where I was able to try what is now my number 1 filling choice, strawberry, along with the former number 1, chocolate. I might go back, if only to walk around Target with a puff in my hand and mouth, but I doubt it since a Beard Papa is opening up in my neighborhood soon!

1 comment:

lil miss dubin said...

TRB and I went to the Americana very close to the date it opened. We walked elbow to elbow with 900 billion other shoppers and generally felt very claustrophobic--it was Memorial Day weekend after all. (He wanted Beard Papa, but instead we went to a barbecue and ate ourselves sick right afterward.) In all, one trip to the Americana may be enough for me. Of course, I'm lying.