Friday, August 15, 2008

Toodeloo, Midtown Plaza

Midtown Plaza, a Rochester, New York landmark closed this year. It was the first indoor shopping mall in America. It opened in 1962 and reigned supreme among shopping centers here for decades. Large department stores such as Sibley’s and McCurdy’s were located there. My grandparents and parents shopped there. I went to see Santa there as a child and shopped at the Wegmans grocery store and other shops there as an adult. But as malls do in urban areas, it began to die out as crime rose in the city. The building is slated for demolition to make way for a corporate headquarter.

Today they held an auction at Midtown Plaza to clear out all the leftover things, some of them treasured pieces of Rochester history. I really wanted to go nose around but had an appointment that cut my day in half. My mother and her boyfriend did attend.

My mother’s boyfriend, Dave, is into all kinds of things. He buys and sells stuff for a living. When I say “stuff” I mean cars, scrap metal, the entire contents of houses for estate sales, cabinets, and the list goes on. You name it, he has sold one. He loves going to auctions. He makes a decent living doing this, too!

He got some great deals today. He bought the entire contents of a Hallmark store for $20.00. Not much merchandise was included, but he got all the displays, shelves, counter tops, desks, some office supplies, and their notable Hallmark purple aprons, one of which still had a name tag pinned to it. He also purchased the contents of a back room of a shoe store, a big neon sign, a Christmas tree and wreath, and some other odds and ends.

My mother came home with a really cool piece of art. She bought a ceramic relief sculpture of the topography and buildings of the Rochester region including the Genesee River, Lake Ontario, and the Erie Canal. Most of the well known downtown buildings are there. It’s beautiful. Mom remembers it being on display on a big table and under a glass cover. I know she’s going to find the right art collector and make some money off her find. It weighs a ton though.

I am going tomorrow to help them clear out their auction purchases. Don’t ask me where Dave is going to store the contents of two stores. I’m really looking forward to photographing the building as it makes its way to oblivion.

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