"It's about 4 minutes up this road, no more."
This was the distance from a violin lesson in Derwood to Lakeforest Mall. I heard things about the place, that it is an 'urbanized hangout'. I held that fear as we entered the parking lot. There was a penetrating mall cop presence- none that I saw in upscale malls like the Tysons Galleria, nor downscale ones like Silver Spring's City Place. There were empty storefronts. Looking up thorough the prismatic shaped skylight, there were several brown patches on the ceiling, something I took to be as neglect. Mall cops on foot, in uniform, on Segways. The marble tile floor, however, was still spic and span; the escalators worked and looked appealing to ride.
What we had come here to do was to see a special Chinese New Year themed exhibit. There was a small set-up on the first floor, visible from the terraced second story. That was all? Alas, there was loud music, of the traditional kind. It sounded...far eastern. There must be more to the festivities. In the central atrium, display tables and a main stage was set up. There was a performance by what seemed to be an after-school kung-fu troop. There was soul, and physical presence. These festivities were much more than a matter of political correctness. (Tomorrow is the event's last day).
Addendum: The empty storefronts and splotches on the ceiling were concentrated in one wing only; the rest of the mall was quite alive and well. Now what was up with all the mall cops?
A mall on its way out:
1) Increased security presence
2) Empty Storefronts
3) A disappearance of printed media and credit card offers
4) Discount retailers (unless it was an outlet mall to begin with)
5) Fountains turned off
6) Escalators not functional
7) Turned-off lights
8) Emptiness; a general 'dead' feeling