Good-Bye Midtown Plaza

Every day, on my way to and from work, I walk past the remains of Midtown Plaza.

Midtown Plaza was the first urban indoor mall in the United States.  My parents took me to see the Christmas decorations when I was a little girl and it was magical.  I saw Santa there.  I shopped there.  I even worked there for a little while when I was in college.  Midtown Plaza has been closed for a couple of years, losing the battle of history versus progress.  For a long time, nothing seemed to be happening.  It looked like the Plaza was just sitting empty.

Now, the demolition is in full swing.  Big machines are taking down the walls.  Bite by bite they are eating up the Plaza.  I am a silent observer, noticing the changes as I walk past each morning and evening.  This slow demolition gives me the opportunity to take my time saying good-bye.

Good-bye to the time my teenage cousins, Ruthie and Kathy, drove me to Midtown from Cohocton.  How they ever talked my Aunt Jane into allowing this road trip, I will never know.  I will never forget how grown-up I felt, shopping with my “big girl” cousins.

Good-bye to the horrible memory of the time an elderly man spit on me in the center of the mall, as I was walking to the bus to go back to school.  I was so furious!  Toothless and obviously suffering from dementia, he accepted my wrathful stare with a childlike grin so harmless that I forgot my anger.

Good-bye to the time I was selected to give out free samples of ice cream at the front of the Wegmans store.  Never have I shared in such delight as the hot summer day I handed out mini-cone after mini-cone to adorable, thankful, laughing children and their grateful parents.

If Midtown Plaza holds this many memories for me, I can hardly begin to imagine how many memories it holds for all the people who have shopped, worked, and visited there.  But it will not be a vessel to hold memories for long.  The walls are coming down and can no longer contain them.  As I walk past each morning and evening, I can almost feel the memories spilling out through the holes in the walls.  My walk each day allows me to watch the demolition of Midtown Plaza.  It is sad to see it taken apart and I am grateful for this time to say good-bye..


10 thoughts on “Good-Bye Midtown Plaza

    • How funny! I never thought anyone would recognize my cousin’s names in my post, except for family. I’m so glad that you commented. It is, indeed a small world. And Cohocton is a very small town.

  1. According to a December 2009 Democrat and Chronicle article:

    Midtown memories

    Some Midtown memorabilia and where they are now:
    Monorail: In storage, headed to Artisanworks.
    Clock of Nations: Greater Rochester International Airport.
    Santa’s chair: Arlene’s Costumes.
    Totem pole: Seneca Park Zoo.

    Midtown’s monorail sits in storage today in an out-of-the-way building in northwest Rochester.

    The sentimental relic of Christmases past is destined for Artisanworks, a Blossom Road warehouse jam-packed with collections of paintings and photographs, sculptures and vintage vehicles.

    The Clock of Nations is currently at the Greater Rochester International Airport and possibly headed to Golisano Children’s Hospital.

    Magic Mountain remains in Midtown’s basement. The structure was in poor shape, and the city determined it was unlikely to be re-used. That piece of Christmases past will be hauled away in the demolition debris when Midtown is razed next year.

    • Sheri, I think the only thing they saved was the clock. It’s at the airport until it can be installed at the Museum of Play. I don’t know about the monorail. It seems like they must have saved it, but I couldn’t find any info.

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