Saturday, August 16, 2008

Midtown, Where Nothing is Waiting for You

(Click on the slideshow for a bigger version!)

The excursion to Midtown Plaza on Friday was a fantastic experience. I appreciated the chance to say goodbye to a Rochester landmark. Plus it was darn fun rooting around in the stores and buildings for things I wanted to keep. I came home with a carload of neat odds and ends.

Only people who had bought something at the auction on Thursday were allowed in. I was there to help my mom and her boyfriend, Dave, clear out the items they had won bids on. Dave bought the contents of two stores. One was a Hallmark store. You would not believe what people leave behind when they close down businesses. I scored about 300 envelopes I plan to sell on eBay or Etsy. The owners left nice desks, chairs, shelving, boxes, greeting cards, cabinets, display stands, and coffee pots behind. We loaded up as much as we could fit on rolling carts and filled up Mom’s van. Then Dave got his roll-off flatbed truck for the rest.

The other shop Dave bought out was an upscale shoe store. It was full of acrylic display stands that I know will sell well on eBay and Etsy. We took out a lot of shoe stretchers and fitters, toe and heel pads, light fixtures, sign stands, and those slanted stools that are used when a salesman actually helps you put on shoes you are trying on. (Do you remember those days?) A safe big enough for me to get in comfortably was in the back room. I really wanted just the door to hang in my living room, but it was too much trouble to get off.

Dave also purchased the contents of a few maintenance rooms in the basement. There were several cases of Xerox promotional mugs, fancy magnifying glasses, little office supply kits, office chairs, more desks, a garbage can full of coiled cords that he can sell as scrap, and a few of the regionally “famous” horse strollers that parents could rent to take their kids around in the shopping plaza. Lots of nostalgia value there. One of those sold for $150 at the auction. Dave has three of them now. The auctioneers didn’t know they were down there so Dave got a great deal again. All of the things in the basement were covered in what appeared to be 20 years worth of dust.

He took about 100 fluorescent light bulbs that he plans to sell at flea markets for $1.00 each. He has an eye for this kind of thing. I never would have thought to pick up those items for resale.

We only had from 9 am until 2 pm to get all this stuff out. We left a lot of great stuff behind because we ran out of time. The back of the shoe store was filled with gorgeous wood shelving that I would have loved to put in my basement. I really wanted a big old metal and wood desk for Mr. M’s office. They were too heavy to move.

Exploring the building was so interesting. We could go almost anywhere… basements, loading bays, the backs of the banks, stores, utility rooms, layaway cages, and freight elevators. I find abandoned buildings fascinating. I like to see how they degrade over a period of time when no one is there. I had been to Midtown Plaza to shop many times, but it looked so foreign when empty. A building in this state oddly looks like it has a lot of potential to be great, and it once was. I would love to see it remodeled into an urban community setting. New loft apartments are going up in the neighborhood and those people are going to need shopping close by. Now there is none with the plaza closing down. It seems like such a waste to me.

More about Midtown and our lucky finds this week. Stay tuned!


Lisa said...

Wow, this is actually sad for me see! I have such wonderful memories of Christmas shopping there & seeing Santa. Not to mention riding the monorail. What a waste! Hopefully they will use that space to make something beautiful & useful to all! :-)

Joolie said...

Those pictures are great! Especially the spare mannequin butts that were, uh, left behind.

David said...

I shopped at Midtown Plaza right up until it closed, I was there the day it closed, and I was a very active bidder at the Midtown auction. What City Hall pulled before and after that auction is despicable. They shouldn't have sold anything else besides what was auctioned off. I really wanted one of those horse strollers and almost paid $150.00 for one. It is unfair that Dave got a deal on three of them. How does he rate!? Heck, I paid $150.00 for an american flag from the terrace level! As an avid Midtown collector, historian, and preservationist, I will have a nice long talk with Susan Lindsay on Monday.

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