Palisades Center

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Palisades Center Mall
LocationWest Nyack, New York, United States
Coordinates41°05′50″N 73°57′22″W / 41.0973°N 73.9561°W / 41.0973; -73.9561Coordinates: 41°05′50″N 73°57′22″W / 41.0973°N 73.9561°W / 41.0973; -73.9561
Address1000 Palisades Center Drive
Opening dateMarch 4, 1998; 21 years ago (1998-03-04)
DeveloperThe Pyramid Companies
ManagementThe Pyramid Companies
OwnerThe Pyramid Companies
No. of stores and services218
No. of anchor tenants16 (15 open, 1 vacant)
Total retail floor area2,217,323 sq ft (205,996.0 m2)[1]
No. of floors4, plus 1 level below ground parking garage
Parking18,000+ parking spaces
Public transit accessBus transport Rockland Coaches bus routes: 20 & 49J
Hudson Link buses: H01, H03, H05, H07, H07X
Transport of Rockland bus routes: 91 and 92

Palisades Center, often referred to as the Palisades Mall, in West Nyack, New York is the second-largest shopping mall in the New York metropolitan area, the eighth-largest in the United States by total area, and sixth-largest by gross leasable space.[2] The mall houses 218 stores and receives 20 million visitors a year. It is also one of the nation's most lucrative malls,[3] producing $40 million in annual sales tax and $17 million in property taxes.[4]

Named after the nearby Palisades, which border the Hudson River and the eastern part of Rockland County, Palisades Center is bounded on three sides by major state routes: the New York State Thruway (Interstates 87 and 287) to the north (Exit 12), NY Route 303 to the east, and NY Route 59 to the south. It is also located near the Thruway's intersection of the Palisades Interstate Parkway, and is only a few miles west of the Tappan Zee Bridge, which provides access from points east of the Hudson River.[4]

The mall was developed by The Pyramid Companies, and opened in 1998.[5] Major tenants include BJ's Wholesale Club, Macy's, Burlington, Best Buy, Target, Barnes & Noble, H&M, Dick's Sporting Goods, and The Home Depot.[6]

The mall spans four floors.


According to the mall's sponsoring partner, Thomas Valenti, it took 16 years to get the mall approved and built.[4] The 130-acre site[7] was purchased by The Pyramid Companies for about $3 million and promised to clean up the two landfills, which were filled with incinerator ash and garbage.[8] The 875,000-square-foot mall[9] was proposed in 1985 with a goal of luring upscale retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor, and also a promise to keep sales tax dollars from slipping across state lines into New Jersey. The site was selected for its proximity to the New York State Thruway and Westchester County. Its location four miles from New Jersey, where blue laws in Paramus keep the malls closed on Sundays, was also a factor. Local residents, recalling how the Nanuet Mall nearly drew the life out of Rockland County's traditional shopping villages about 20 years earlier,[8] opposed the mall, predicting that it would bring crime,[9] increased traffic, air pollution, and an economic downturn to the area's downtowns,[4][10] and that the site was not properly tested for toxins. Ground was broken on the project in October 1993.[8][10] The mall cost between $250 million and $280 million.[8][9]

The Mount Moor Cemetery; parking lots are before and behind it, and the mall is visible to the right.

The Palisades Center was built around the Mount Moor Cemetery, a 150-year-old cemetery for African Americans established in 1849 for people of color, including Native American and African American veterans of American wars from the Civil War to the Korean War. The cemetery is visible from a number of points in the mall, and was undisturbed by construction.[11]

The Historical Society of Rockland County placed a historical sign which reads:

This burying ground for Colored people, was deeded on July 7, 1849 by James Benson. and Jane Benson. his wife to William H. Moore, Stephen Samuels and Isaac Williams. trustees. The cemetery has provided burial space for colored people, including veterans of the American Civil War, the Spanish–American War, World Wars l and ll and the Korean War. The grounds have been maintained since 1940 by the Mount Moor Cemetery Association, Inc.[12]

The construction of the mall faced a number of environmental obstacles before it began. What was initially thought to be a mastodon buried there turned out to be a circus elephant. Nesting grounds for a nearly extinct red-legged partridge turned out to be a domesticated pheasant. Other problems included flooding from one of the region's glacier-dug bottom spots and runoff from three landfills on the property.[4]

The mall finished construction in December 1997 and opened in March 1998.[4][13][14] From the beginning the mall was dogged by rumors, the most prevalent of which being that the underground parking lot was sinking because it was built on unstable swampland, and that it would collapse under its own weight. After the 1999-2000 holiday seasons, rumors of the mall's closing abounded. On the January 6, 2000, episode of The Rosie O'Donnell Show, host Rosie O'Donnell, who lives in Nyack, mentioned the rumor of the building's sinking to her audience. Local police, town engineering officials and the mall's developers, however, assured the public that there was no truth to these stories and that the mall was safe and in no danger of closing.[4][11][14] A managing partner of the mall, Thomas J. Valenti, appeared on a later episode of The Rosie O'Donnell Show, where he performed a song and dance number to the tune of "Cheek to Cheek," debunking the rumors of the mall sinking.[15]

On May 3, 2013, Pyramid announced that Palisades Center would undergo a multimillion-dollar makeover later that month, which would be completed by the end of the year. The remodeling was intended to create a more sophisticated appearance to the mall, which had begun to show signs of wear and tear. The renovation brought about a warmer color scheme to soften the institutional beige of the mall, colored glass mosaics, ceiling facets, and designer lighting. Some aspects of the remodeling targeted specific areas of the mall. For example, the four-story court at the center of the mall incorporates glass handrails and architectural lighting elements, and the "ThEATery" area on level 4 received new tile floors and chandelier fixtures. Other areas had soft seating, custom planters, and plush carpets added to them.[5]

Two years later, in 2015, the AMC Theatres location was renovated. The building was remodeled and the theater replaced its former gray seats with red luxurious self-adjustable controlled recliners. The theater also added Coke Freestyle machines and self-serve ICEE machines, which replaced the former video game arcade. The former IMAX theater closed in 2016 and was moved into a separate auditorium inside AMC. However, the IMAX theater in AMC does not have self-adjustable controls on the seats. The Loews Theaters signage was dropped as well, making the theater simply as an AMC/IMAX theater. In 2019, Lord & Taylor announced that its Palisades Center store would close in early 2020.[16]

Opposition and critical reception[edit]

Opponents of the mall say their predictions about the mall came true: the Superfund site on the property was paved over rather than cleaned, the mall tax failed to lower the average homeowner's bill. Mall opponent Bruce Broadley commented, "Everything we said would happen happened. Go back and look at all the proposals and drawings. It's a vastly different mall that was built. It was sold as upscale. What they built is arguably one of the ugliest malls in America." These complaints were detailed in the 2008 documentary Megamall. However, Clarkstown Town Board member Shirley Lasker, who opposed the mall, acknowledged in 2008 that their concerns over traffic did not materialize. Valenti said that the $23 million spent to fix area roads and create the mall's own exit on the Thruway prevented the predicted traffic congestion. Journal News columnist Greg Clary argues that aesthetics are subjective, that average homeowners' tax bills did not go down due to continued spending on the part of elected officials, and that while the downtowns were hurt by the mall, this is not unique to the area, and can be averted by town planners who represent some of the 20 million mall patrons.[4]

On November 5, 2002, voters in Clarkstown voted on whether to approve the mall's leasing out of 100,000 square feet of unoccupied space, in keeping with a 1997 covenant that Pyramid Companies signed stipulating that any additional leasing would be decided by a town referendum as part of a deal that let the mall take over three town streets. Opponents argued that Pyramid Companies had previously insisted that this space had no practical use when they had built beyond the original 1.8 million square feet they were allowed, but Pyramid insisted that they did not wish to expand beyond the limits of the mall, but rather to lease space already contained in the building, which would be occupied by Kids City, an interactive educational and recreational center for children ages 3 to 12. Nicole Doliner, president of the Rockland Civic Association, however, characterized Kids City as a "theme park."[3]

New York Times writer Joe Queenan criticized the mall's exterior for lacking any sense of design or theme and characterized its rectangular layout as "a series of interlocking coffins." He also criticized the visible "trash gondolas" near the Interstate 287 entrance. Queenan had kinder things to say about the mall's vast interior, likening its sprawling floors to a retail version of Centre Georges Pompidou, analogizing its amalgamated structure to the "Gotham skyline," and lauding the bowling alley, ice rink, and food court Ferris wheel for giving people an opportunity to play "adult hooky."[17]


Ferris wheel

The mall has four floors.[17][18] including 16 anchor stores,[11] In addition to the more traditional department-store anchors Lord & Taylor[11][19] and Macy's[11][19][20] on the east end,[17] the mall has a Best Buy, Burlington, and a Target on the west end. The Mall has 3 sets of high-speed glass elevators, installed by MontgomeryKONE in 1998 when the mall opened.

On the fourth floor is a stadium-seating 21-screen AMC Theatres,[5][21][5] that includes a once-separate IMAX theater.[22][23] Since 2016, the former IMAX site is home to 5 Wits Interactive Family Entertainment Center.[24] At the east end of the fourth floor is an ice rink,[17][8] which is home to many teams and programs such as the Palisades Predators Youth Hockey team[25] and BUDS for Hockey.[26] The rink also houses a free skate and Learn to Skate program, an arcade, and a party room for birthday parties.[27] The fourth floor is also the entry to Palisades Climb Adventure, a five-level, 85-foot-tall climbing obstacle course created by WonderWorks that allows guests to climb on obstacles while strapped into a harness.[28] The third floor of the mall contains a 2,000 seat food court[9] with over a dozen quick-service restaurants, a Ferris wheel[21] and formerly housed Philadelphia Toboggan Company Carousel Number 15, a carousel that was built in 1907 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.[29] In May 2009, mall management announced that the then-101-year-old carousel would be disassembled and removed the following month and was replaced by a modern double-decker Venetian carousel.[30]

The mall underwent a large number of anchor changes in the 2010s: J. C. Penney closed in 2017,[31] and Lord & Taylor two years later.[32]


  1. ^ International Council of Shopping Centers: Palisades Center Archived 2007-09-30 at the Wayback Machine, accessed December 19, 2006
  2. ^ "Largest Shopping Malls in the United States". Eastern Connecticut State University. Archived from the original on June 23, 2011. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Jainchill, Johanna. "IN BUSINESS; Civic Group Fights Mall Over Unoccupied Space". The New York Times. August 18, 2002
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Clary, Greg (March 28, 2008). "Even 10 years after opening, Palisades Center stirs discontent". Archived 2014-11-13 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b c d Stone, DZ (May 3, 2013). "Palisades Center in West Nyack to get makeover". Newsday.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Gratz, Roberta Brandes. "MALLING THE NORTHEAST". The New York Times. April 1, 1990
  8. ^ a b c d e "Mall's Future in Doubt Amid Many Questions". The New York Times. June 12, 1994
  9. ^ a b c d Williams, Monte. "Equal to 32 Football Fields, New Center Is Hotly Debated". The New York Times. August 11, 1996
  10. ^ a b Feron, James. "Plan to Build Huge Mall Under Attack In Rockland". The New York Times. December 31, 1998
  11. ^ a b c d e "Palisades Center - West Nyack, New York - large indoor shopping center". City-Data. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
  12. ^ Mount Moor Cemetery - Rockland County, New York. accessed June 22, 2007.
  13. ^ Siwolop, Sana (April 23, 2003). "COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE; Shopping Center Tries to Recapture Its Old Shine". The New York Times.
  14. ^ a b West, Debra (January 8, 1999). "Palisades Center, the Rumor Mall; Rosie O'Donnell Wants to Know: Is It Really Going to Sink?". The New York Times.
  15. ^ West, Debra (January 8, 1999). "Palisades Center, the Rumor Mall; Rosie O'Donnell Wants to Know: Is It Really Going to Sink?". The New York Times. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
  16. ^ "Lord & Taylor To Close At Palisades Center: Report". Nyack-Piermont, NY Patch. 2019-09-05. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
  17. ^ a b c d Queenan, Joe (January 25, 2008). "All of America, and Parking Too". The New York Times.
  18. ^ Mall Directory. Palisades Center. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  19. ^ a b "Palisades Center Mall - West Nyack". Style Cabana. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
  20. ^ Palisades Center Shopping Mall. Mahwah Homewood Suites. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
  21. ^ a b Holusha, John. "The Key to the Mall? That's Entertainment". The New York Times. February 9, 1997
  22. ^ IMAX, Palisades Center Archived 2011-11-30 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  23. ^ "IMAX Theatre Palisades Center". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-09-10. Retrieved 2015-09-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link), 5 Wits::Adventure Awaits! Nyack, NY. Accessed September 9, 2015.
  25. ^ "Palisades Predators Hockey Club". Retrieved May 17, 2014.
  26. ^ "Bruce Fowler Home Page". Retrieved May 17, 2014.
  27. ^ "Skating Lessons". Palisades Center Ice Rink. Retrieved May 17, 2014.
  28. ^ "NOW OPEN – Palisades Climb Adventure Ropes Course". Palisades Climb Adventure. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
  29. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  30. ^ "Palisades Center Replaces Historic Carousel". New York Post. August 27, 2009
  31. ^
  32. ^

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