Friday, July 21, 2017

Just What I Needed

We were on the road today by quarter of 10 (after eating our Cheerios and blueberries for breakfast). Once again, we headed towards Albany. Our destinations this time were two of the largest malls in upstate New York. It was another gorgeous day for a drive, much warmer but still sunny and dry. We went through a different part of the country, dodging the road work that seems to spread like mushrooms.

Our first stop of the day was the massive Crossgates Mall. It's so big, it has its own exit off the highway that goes right to it. While it's not as attractive as Holyoke, it does have a really great selection of stores, probably one of the few malls that cater to both upscale tastes and emptier wallets.

We started at JC Penney's.  I wanted to find a new pair of walking sandals. My old ones that I bought at Sears last year are getting worn. Though they had some great sales, I didn't see anything I liked. Lauren didn't, either. We headed into the mall proper.

Our original plan was to hit up their Jay Street Video Games first. This proved to be a tad difficult. According to two big orange signs under the bars, the store had been seized by the State of New York for non-payment of taxes! We had far more luck at a CEX - Electronics Exchange - around the corner. They sold used DVDs, video games, and small electronics items for super cheap. Lauren bought wrestling sets featuring her favorite classic wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. I picked up copies of two musicals from the 1970's, Scrooge for a dollar and New York, New York for $2. Their GameStop was huge, but alas, it yielded no finds.

Next up was Macy's. Theirs is absolutely huge, two wide stories. I peeked at the shoes and plus-sized blouses, but I didn't see anything for a decent price in the former, and they had nothing in my size on sale in the latter. Lauren grabbed a few more blouses for work.

Our next stops were more fun. We browsed through a Build-a-Bear store that was three times the size of the one at Cherry Hill, but didn't see anything we wanted. The Disney Store was even better. Lauren picked up a Grumpy-themed t-shirt for her dad and an Eeyore shirt for her mom. I was delighted to find beautiful Rey and Jyn dolls (they were listed as "action figures," but they were really closer to fashion doll size) on sale for $7.99 each! They even came with accessories and extra hands that could hold them. I was going to wait for the Forces of Destiny dolls next month, but that was far too good of a sale to pass up on. I'll get the Forces Ahsoka and Padme instead.

We also did well at their enormous FYE. I found the third season of Happy Days on sale for $9.99. Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley are the only live-action TV shows I'm trying to find DVD sets for right now. Lauren picked up a wrestling magazine.

It was past 1:30 at this point, and we both wanted lunch. We ran into our second reality check of the day here. The Ted's Fish Fry we ate at last year was empty and closed. A sign on their door said they closed on July 14th. Rats! We rode over to the Colonie Center, the other mall we wanted to visit, and ate at their Moe's Southwest Grill instead. Lauren had the "stack" - a crunch burrito "stacked" in a soft shell. I went simpler with a chicken quesadilla.

The Colonie Center is almost as big as Crossgates Mall. It's also far older (50 years old last year), and thanks to a recent renovation, one of the prettiest malls I've ever seen. Unlike Crossgates, which feels as sterile as the Cherry Hill Mall, Colonie has elegant wrought-iron railings, soft chairs surrounding vast fireplaces, and a beautiful art-deco-inspired exterior.

We absolutely had to visit the FYE here. Despite it being almost as big as the one at Crossgates, it had closing notices posted. (Sears did, too.) Everything was on sale for 40 or 50% off! It took me forever to choose something from the piles of CDs, toys, t-shirts, and DVDs laying around. I ultimately went with two of the last James Bond movies I didn't have, the Roger Moore movie For Your Eyes Only and the most recent Daniel Craig vehicle, Spectre. (Spectre was $5.99 - I knew that one would be cheaper if I waited. Eyes was $2.99.)

We browsed through their Jay Street Video Store (which was open), a much smaller GameStop, and Barnes & Noble, but found nothing of interest. I finally picked up a pair of comfortable white huarache sandals at Boscov's, along with hair bands for 99 cents each! Lauren grabbed some more blouses and a small 2-in-1 game board for her and her parents to play together. She found more work shirts at Christopher & Banks. I just leaned on those wrought-iron railings and kept an eye on her game board.

Lauren got two shirts at Macy's that she couldn't find in her size at Crossgates. I stuck by her this time. I hadn't found anything at the other one, and I really didn't feel like more wandering and getting lost.

We finally rolled out at around 6:30. We drove down Wolf Road, which is heavily populated with restaurants and shopping centers. As Lauren put it, "if you can't find it at Wolf Road, it doesn't exist." We saw another Ted's and what Lauren was looking for, Reed's Seafood. It's apparently a favorite of her parents, and she wanted to make sure it was still there.

It was past 8:30 when we finally pulled into the garage, and closer to 9 when we were showing Mr. and Mrs. Miller our finds and trying to get Rey and Jyn out of their heavily-twist-tied boxes. We had a quick dinner of defrosted frozen pizza before I took a shower and we went online.

I'm going home tomorrow, once again around noon. Lauren and her parents are going to drive me there. I texted Jodie when we were in Albany. I only got a "wonderful" from her, so I'm going to assume they'll be at Cherry Hill to pick me up tomorrow.


Jackie said...

I think I'm jealous. I grew up around thee, went to college at Albany State. Ted's Fish Fry is a must every time I visit! For a couple of years I worked in a long defunct anchor store in the Northway Mall across the street from Colonie Center. Heck, it might not even be called the Northway Mall anymore!

Emma said...

Hi, Jackie! According to this Wikipedia entry, I'm afraid it's now a big-box shopping center. It was torn down and rebuilt in 1999.

I'm guessing from the page you worked at either E.J Korvette or Woolworth's.

Jackie said...

Nope. Korvettes was one of the anchors. I worked for a store called Almart (not to be confused with Wal-Mart) -- the north end anchor store. It was kind of neat -- a full department store with its own restaurant/bar, beauty salon and huge greenhouse. We even had a window dressing staff like Rhoda's job on Mary Tyler Moore Show which was popular at the time. The mall itself even had a chapel with Franciscan monks in their long robes. The Woolworth store was in the middle of the mall. If memory serves, the store closed down a few years after I left the Albany area with a better job. I enjoyed working there. I was the Assistant Security Manager running around catching shoplifters. It was fun.

I just read through the link you posted. Yep, that was my home for two years.

Emma said...

Wow, I envy you. Growing up down in relatively rural Cape May County, I only knew K-Mart, Ames, Jamesway, and a couple of very local, tiny chains that vanished in my early childhood. I wouldn't step foot in a department store larger than K-Mart until the Hamilton Mall was built in the late 80's.

Jackie said...

They built a huge mall just about next door to my high school in Saratoga County (Clifton Country Mall) some years after I graduated. Now, that would have been fantastic had it been there when I was in school! In high school, my friends and I would go to Two Guys in Schenectady, KMart in Latham or Colonie Center to shop. There was nothing but country where I lived!