Ashley Diaz, Social Media Editor
For over 15 years, an empty lot of land stood next to the Route 3 highway in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Various rumors of what was going to come out of this barren space spread like wildfire, constantly changing to the point where no one really had any idea of what was going to be built and when it would be completed. Many speculated that a casino was going to be the outcome.
After many years of expectations and driving past abandoned metal pieces, it seemed as if the new mall appeared before everyone’s eyes in a matter of days. Granted this is an exaggeration, but the building process was so quick it took everyone by surprise.
The American Dream, one of the largest malls in America, averages over 3 million square feet and cost over $5.7 billion to produce.
While most of the mall is closed off to the public, American Dream tried to get into the holiday spirit this past winter.
The mall was transformed into a winter wonderland complete with various large Christmas trees, festive floors and fake snow. Santa Claus also made an appearance as families came to American Dream for free pictures, drawing in large crowds in the process. This started in early December and lasted throughout the holiday season.
Aside from Santa, American Dream also included other holidays during the season. A giant menorah was placed in the mall for those that celebrate Hanukkah. Many came to pray with their families in front of the menorah.
The only stores open during the holiday season were the Nickelodeon Universe amusement park, IT’SUGAR, Big Snow and an ice skating rink.
Even though few stores were open, American Dream was still pulling in large crowds, media coverage and attention from celebrities.
During December, multiple A-list celebrities visited American Dream, these included Latin singer Anuel, rappers Lil Uzi Vert and Meek Mill.
The Nickelodeon Universe amusement park has caused a lot of excitement within the communities nearby. Families were bringing their children for some family-friendly fun. The ticket prices were affordable, making it easy for families to spend the day at the mall. The all-access day pass was $60, the general day pass was $45 and the twilight all-access pass, only available two hours before closing, was $35.
IT’SUGAR is a very large department candy store stretching three floors. At the moment, only two floors are open, with the third floor, which will be a cafe partnered with Oreo, opening in the foreseeable future. The store has also been a big attraction pulling in large crowds daily. The store has a retro section of candy that makes adults reminisce about their childhood, almost guaranteeing that there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Big Snow, the first indoor ski slope in North America, also draws crowds to American Dream. A ticket to Big Snow is around $70, which includes two-hour access to the slope as well as ski gear.
It is said that American Dream will have over 450 stores once it is completed. All stores are expected to be open by March 2020.
When American Dream fully opens it will be a force to be reckoned with. It is hard to imagine the multitude of people that will visit this gigantic retail and entertainment center.