Sunday, June 03, 2007

Mall of America

I was in Minneapolis this weekend, and my hotel was almost across the street from the Mall of America.

Words fail me.

Actually, after visiting it, I was somewhat impressed. Yes, it's disgustingly huge...four tall floors of consumerism about a mile from the airport. But if you're going to have that, at least do it right...and I'd say the MOA is "done right".

Mall of America mapIt's basically every "mall store" you can imagine all packed into one giant building. Granted, most of these mall stores are the usual "overpriced crap you don't really need" kind of store, but at least it's got ALL of them under one roof.

Even better, the whole thing wraps around a sizable amusement park...complete with two roller coasters, two water flume rides, trampolines, and a variety of other carnival-esque rides. Plus the Lego store (and several "play stations" for kids to make Lego creations). Everything you need to keep the kids occupied while you get your shopping done.

Me in the Mall of America
Also smart, the area where the MOA is located isn't very residential at all...there's little out there besides the airport, the airport hotels, some office parks, some industrial plants, a giant IKEA store, and the intersection of two major roadways...I-494 and MN Rt. 77.

I didn't buy anything but some funnel cake while I was in there. But at least I can say I was at the Mall of America. :-) That's me with the amusement park area in the background. Pepsi is apparently a major sponsor.

I-35 detourWhile I'm on the subject, I'd like to give a tip of the hat to the Twin Cities for being confident enough in their drivers and their overall roadway infrastructure that they can just shut down the main north-south highway between Minneapolis and the southern suburbs (and the airport) for the weekend. It was a mild pain in my butt, but overall having I-35W closed from 10pm Friday thru Sunday (to tear down an overpass to widen it) was not a big deal. The news covered it, there were ample detour signs...the traffic was a little worse than usual, but nothing hideous.

I remember when the DNC came to Boston in 2004, and they shut down I-93 through the city. What a giant mess that was. Actually it wasn't a mess, but only because they scared the crap of everyone for five months beforehand, and half the city went on vacation far, far away. The fact that Minneapolis pulled this off is a testament to the logical layout of their city, and the overall intelligence of the transportation planners.

The Skyways throughout the city are pretty damn cool, too. Why can't Boston have them?

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