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A last look at the old Meadow Glen Mall

Our own Ron Newman took lots of pictures when he visited the old Medford mall before it closes this weekend.

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Comments

Thanks Ron for the photo set.

I didn't know it was closing so soon. I knew it was closing, just didn't know when and so soon.

End of an era I guess. I remember when that was the hip, happening mall... now it's just a former shell of itself. Glad to see Wegman's is going in there, that mall needed to be put out of its misery.

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was the mall i would go to growing up living in arlington... i dont ever remember it being hip though

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It was the quirky cousin to the Assembly Square Mall down the street. I grew up in Chelsea and the mall hierarchy for us went Mystic Mall, Meadow Glen and then Assembly Square until Square 1 hit the scene. As much as the move away from malls and the building of shopping centers hit Assembly Square and Meadow Glen ,I think it was the Square One Mall that officially pushed them over the edge. Being the quirky cousin Meadow Glen sometimes had things like better video game and music stores than Assembly Square where Assembly had the Windsor Button Shop and a big card store, comparatively speaking that made Meadow Glen quite hip lol.

Kind of like the difference between Liberty Tree and the North Shore Mall. Liberty Tree has the movies and other more destination oriented experiences like Best Buy and Target where the North Shore Mall is more for wandering around.

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I had no idea! Not that I cared... Anyway I've seen the Kohls of course but did not realize there was an entire indoor mall. I just hope Wegmans and Medford do the right thing and make it super bike and pedestrian accessible with bike racks and a bridge over to the park along the Mystic...

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The area is connected to the Mystic river with a bicycle cloverleaf.

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The Medford Bicycle Advisory Committee will be weighing in on getting people in non-motorized modes into, through, and around the area.

Wegman's will be a zoo, so having places for cyclists to park is important.

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when I lived near there about ten years ago. It's hard to imagine it as successful once.

Anyway, RIP.

Wegmans moving to within 5 miles of downtown boston is a Big Thing. They're going to get one hell of a lot of business. I hope that neighborhood is ready ...

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is hardly quiet

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(("Wegmans moving to within 5 miles of downtown boston is a Big Thing. They're going to get one hell of a lot of business. I hope that neighborhood is ready ..."))
Well the thugs, pickpockets and shoplifters are getting ready, to be sure....Rumor has it there's gonna be a shuttle bus from the Chelsea projects...maybe even a stop at the methadone clinic in Malden first....

Wegman's accepts EBT cards, yes??

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"rolls eyes"

You need to get out more. Seriously - take buses, walk around.

You somehow got stuck in 1986. Find the crazy-haired guy with the Delorean and go back before the reality of the last 20-30 years sets in!

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Old? You know what's old? Me, because I remember the drive-in that used to be there.

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I'd be willing to bet he also has photos of the drive-in

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Sorry! But there is a CinemaTreasures page for it.

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...but wasn't the Bal-A-Roue roller skating rink on the same property or at least nearby?

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The Bal-a-Roue was on Mystic Ave where the Century Bank building is now.

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If you don't have a Facebook account, there's nothing on that page.

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A lot of people don't (or no longer) have facebook accounts and don't want them for many reasons. It would be nice to look at the photos and it's a shame they were posted and linked to in a way which isn't public.

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damn.. well if Ron wants, I will upload them to my flickr account which doesn't have that restriction. Happy to do so. Just let me know.

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Here's the link to it. Adam, feel free to add this link to the original post if you'd like.

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Ron marked the photos with a "global" tag. On posts, that means anybody can see them, even without a Facebook login. As I've learned this morning, that doesn't apply to photo collections.

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Yeah my 56K modem has trouble with all those "photographs". Please only post in plain text and ASCII art.

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I don't have a Facebook account, but I used to be able to access the "Dirty Old Boston" page with all those great old photographs. As of the past month or so I can no longer see them.

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This page? I can see it just fine in a not-logged-in browser window:

https://www.facebook.com/DirtyOldBoston/

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before Adam made this post. So everyone, even without a Facebook account, should be able to see them.

Does this link work any better?

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Still just goes to the login page.

It should be noted that I'm thankful you took the photos even if I can't get to them. Facebook wants to create a private internet where it controls the content. Google, Amazon, etc are guilty of the same things but seeing as how Facebook is most aggressive in this regard I choose to not use their services.

EDIT: The link works OK on a normal computer but redirects to login page on mobile.

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Ron put them up on flickr..

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I went a few weeks ago to take advantage of the Children's Place sale, and of course to do some Christmas shopping. I'm glad the two stores I shopped at the most are staying, and the one I shopped the next most is moving over to Gateway, but it's still sad. It used to be such a vibrant place full of good stores. It was always small, but there was quality in the 80s and 90s. Since Old Navy left it's been declining at an exponential pace. The good stores left and sketchy stores took their places. The staff became surly, the good stores dirty, the floors uneven, the doors sticky, the McDonald's (the ONLY ONE IN MEDFORD) closed. We've all known the end was coming for a while, but it still is a shame for its lost potential, the shell of the place it used to be.

Square One looks next on the list of places that used to be nice but are slowly turning crappy. Lots of empty stores.

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Another mall that is past its hay day.

I'll laugh if it gets turned back into a strip mall with Sears and Macy's as the anchors (which is what it was when it was converted to an indoor mall decades ago)

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If I got to Square One, it's only for Macy's, Sears or Best Buy. I don't go in the mall, only those stores. It is a very depressing place.

Everything old is new again, as is with "malls". I think the days of closed in malls are past, the future is open air malls like the Wrentham outlets, Market Street in Lynnfield, etc...

My dad was on the board of the North Shore Mall and was part of making that mall enclosed, which was trendy back in the 60's. Now it seems we're going back to where things were.

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Some of the indoor/outdoor "arcade" malls hung on longer in areas with less nasty weather, but everything was closed in by the 1980s out here. Now there are Assembly Row and Station Landing, among other "neotraditional" purpose-built town squares.

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Sometime in the mid to late 90s. I thought it was rather dull then. I couldn't put my finger on why though; maybe the lack of natural lighting, the color scheme, it seemed a bit sterile, or that it wasn't as particularly busy as other malls I know. I haven't been there for years, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was one of the first "big" malls in the area to die.

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It is the closest full "traditional" mall to anything north of the city and to the east of I-93. I think that I've only gone there to pick up something in stock at Sears or order a massive Kenmore something or other.

I will still drive up to 128 in Danvers to go to Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack. I used to go to JC Penney's for the boys clothes because they had everything in every size and that meant one stop and we were done.

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Losing mall staple chains like Papa Gino's and Friendly's is tough, but when McDonald's backs out, your food court is in trouble for serious.

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women with big hair couldn't navigate the low ceilings.

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Many of these dying malls are some of the few places where small, independent businesses can afford to open. It's a shame they are so dreary. Of course, if they were popular these businesses couldn't afford the rent.

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The moving signs I saw included Square One, Liberty Tree, and (one I've never heard of before) Northgate.

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Northgate is in Revere.

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I'm surprised Northgate even hangs in there. I remember it's heyday in the 60s and 70s. Almy's, Zayre, the little-remembered Turn Style. These types of stores don't really exist anymore.

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There's a mall closer than Solomon Pond with a Cinnabon!?! I'll be there tomorrow.

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IMAGE(http://x.lnimg.com/photo/poster_768/aebd58720b8a42e0a079555b7fac6d1c.jpg)

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Didn't they use to be in both South Station and the CambridgeSide Galleria?

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Elmer's right - I ended up looking at the Northgate Mall directory for the Northgate Mall in Seattle by mistake. No, Cambridgeside closed maybe 10 years ago. Marlborough is the closest as far as I know.

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A Mall Oriental Arts store that is actually closing... no matter where I see them in Malls they always have a going out of business sale going on yet they are still there two years later.

If anyone is interested in oriental bamboo you are much better off at Super 88, the mall store ornamental bamboo stock always seems kind of sickly.

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I thought the same thing about the rug store. They are ALWAYS going out of business (for months) and then pop right back up with a "grand opening" sale.

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Hi Matt,

I'm the daughter of the owner of the Oriental Arts store. I know that your comment is a light-hearted general one and so I'm not really taking things personally, but I do want to let people know on this site that we've never had a "going out of business" sign out front. Sure, some stores might run that tactic, but my dad has had his business in the Meadow Glen Mall for 18+ years. People have been coming by to say goodbye, and that they remember visiting the store from childhood. It's a bittersweet feeling.

There's no doubt that the Meadow Glen Mall has been in decline for a long time. What hurts my heart though is to read people describing this mall as "wretched," "dirty," and "sketchy" while forgetting the people who work there-- everyone from the owners of the stores, to the employees, security, and custodians. Since I've been in high school, I've helped my dad at the mall every so often. I've never felt unsafe in this mall, have never found it to be dirty, and I'm not sure why folks think it's so "sketchy." What it does represent is a change in how people shop, the rise of newer malls that perhaps had a better marketing and expansion plan, and kept up better with trends. In the place of chain stores, small businesses took up. Those small businesses are the way that families, and yes, many immigrant families, try to make good and earn a livelihood and get their slice of social mobility. Think of it this way, my dad opened up his store so that he could work and the mall, and I wouldn't have to when I got older. And the price point of most of those stores, well, they fill a niche too, for folks who are of lesser means.

People say good riddance, and yay Wegman's! And sure, a shiny new supermarket isn't a bad thing. But before people (and not you Matt, this is a reference to other comments) bash how pathetic this mall is, I want to remind folks that these places are also home to hard working people and families. While there are many other, perhaps better malls for shopping, it's not like it's so easy for my dad to find another place to open a store, especially not when he's already 65 years old.

(p.s. Ironically, my dad is also a supplier of bamboo to Super 88, so maybe he saved the better stock for them!)

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It is good to hear from someone representing a business that is being forced to close.

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Thank you, Ron, for your thoughtful pictures of the last days of the Meadow Glen Mall.

Yesterday, I was there for, literally, the last hour and Oriental Arts was the last store standing! Business was brisk all day. Our last customers were a father and teenage daughter who were able to buy some furnishings for their new apartment in Everett. The daughter told me that they were shocked to walk in and find all the stores shut, since they hadn't realized the Meadow Glen was closing. When I explained that a supermarket was being built and that's why we were selling everything off, she said with the innocence and bluntness of a teen, "but why? This is a good store. There are other supermarkets." I could have hugged her. I felt they were good last customers to have for ending on the right note.

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And if so, to where? I do not think I saw a "Moving To..." sign on your store.

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I am sorry to hear about your father closing his business. Yes my experience was with other stores that shared a similar aesthetic that always seem to be going out of business, yet were still there when I went back in (thinking about my experience it was mostly on the North Shore.) I apologize for lumping your father in with the other ones I've seen.

I do agree with you in regards to small businesses feeling the pain in redevelopment. We see these big box stores as the saviors because they offer stability and instant tax money all in one place. It has become very hard for people to start new businesses without huge capital and when they do it is even harder to compete with the huge stores. Large stores are also resisting being "anchors" and want to be stand alone locations, even when attached to a mall, and if they are in a plaza with other stores they want the smalller stores off to the side, not sidled up next to them. So it has become incredibly difficult for small stores to take advantage of the traffic created by the mega stores because of placement.

The Meadow Glenn Mall ultimately failed because it was too small to sustain a mall concept during a time of anti-mall mentality. It is actually a little shocking it beat out Assembly Square by so many years because Assembly was the larger of the two . The larger malls are surviving because they are so big, as you said they can market and promote the mall, Meadow Glenn was not big enough to do all that. It was also way too close to so many other shopping options. I do not applaud its closing , rather I am am impressed it held out for so long against the long odds.

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Ron's set up a Flickr album for his images, so you can see his photos in their full glory without sending creating more coins for Scrooge McZuckerberg to jump into. The link in the original post now links to that.

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where a long comment thread is in progress, go here.

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the one that the guys from Extreme/The Dream worked at?

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Place has been like a third-world hellhole for twenty years....My friend is a Medford cop and you wouldn't BELIEVE some of the stuff that has gone on here for years but was kept "hush-hush" by the cops, at the behest of former mayor Mike. (like the oral sex between two guys that goes on in the park across the way in the good weather, yet moved into the bathroom at the mall when temps dropped.)
And now with the roundup of all the MS-13 dirtbags, there goes at least half the daily customers at this mall....Instead of coffee and donuts on the last day, the mall should have given out syringes, crack pipes and some used condoms....Y'know, just for "old times sake".

Good riddance, 20 years too late.

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on Thursday morning, which is when I finished taking my photos. None of the people there fit your description. Most of them were senior citizens who now need to find another place to socialize and exercise.

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Unless you have been shut in the basement for 30 years ...

Third world hell hole? Omyfuckingod no.

I live in Medford, and have for 20 years now. I bike and walk all over Medford, Malden, Somerville parts of Everett ... I have NEVER had any problem - and I'm a smallish middle aged woman! I have been using the paths along the river, often at night, for a decade now.

I also know that heroin is everywhere - not just where "those people" live. Everywhere. Even places like winchester. Oh, and speaking of Winchester, check out the scene in the wee hours along the lake. Old Guy Dogging Territory, oh yeah. Meanwhile, they cut the reeds along the Mystic long ago - but you didn't notice, cowering in your terror zone, of course.

Your buddy the cop - let me guess: he just quit instead of being fired for harassing and abusing people? Your "stories" sound like the bullshit tales that all of his friends tell about the scary city. Made up nonsense about the streets being dangerous, blah blah, blah. All tales designed to scare the terrified suburbanites and so you'll accept the roid-raging violence and think him a bigman hero.

Please - either get out and get to know the city, or just stay in your fallout shelter. Plenty of people here know this city a hell of a lot better than you do. We actually live in it.

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One of my early jobs was at McDonald's MGM Mall in early 80s. It was a thriving busy mall back then . Sad to see how malls have gone to shit across USA. They once were so great.

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