Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Garden State Plaza Mall in the Sixties


Paramus, New Jersey - circa 1960s

Garden State Plaza, from back in the early days when it was still an open-air shopping mall. Some stores visible in the photo are: Gimbels, Lorrys, and, though in shadow and hard to see, Arcadian Gardens (to the right), which was a restaurant, I believe.

Garden State Plaza is now an enclosed Westfield-owned shopping mall. But once, a long time ago, it looked cool like this.

Mall history: 1957 - present
Developer: R.H. Macy & Co.
Current website: here
Current aerial view
Info from Wikipedia
Previous entries: 1, 2

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57 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the store on the left hand side of this picture and what is it today.

Tue Apr 10, 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger JM said...

Kool picture; although I've been there plenty of times I can't figure out where this would be now. And Arcadian Gardens was actually a nursery/garden supply/craft store.

Tue Apr 10, 10:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Myrtle said...

Didn't SNL do a mini-film about this mall in the early 80's? Joe Piscapo played a video game junkie who spent all day at the arcade at the Paramus Mall? Maybe it was a different mall....

Tue Apr 10, 11:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are four major malls (and a bunch of mini ones) in Paramus. Garden State Plaza is the biggest, but when someone says The Paramus Mall, they can also be talking about Paramus Park, The Fashion Center or The Bergen Mall. I've actually had people call Riverside Square (in Hackensack, next door) the Paramus Mall.

Tue Apr 10, 12:35:00 PM  
Anonymous dean said...

Those planters are crazy! It's a veritable lesson in plate tectonics...

Tue Apr 10, 02:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In any form, Garden State Plaza is a classic. After it was enclosed in 1980, the mall had terra cota flooring, really high ceilings/skylights and fountains. The terra cotta lasted in the old section until 1997 when they updated it to have the marble like the rest of the mall, as well as the arched ceilings. I do miss the fountains though, even the new fountain by Neiman Marcus which has since been transformed into a planter. Another interesting observation about GS Plaza, the old section of the mall always seems more crowded than the new section.

Bergen County is also the only area in NJ to have blue laws and despite being closed Sunday, the Garden State Plaza branches of the majority of the 300 stores in the mall are some of the most successful in their respective chains.

Today, it is the largest mall in New Jersey and will be even larger with its new expansion...in the expansion, an 18 screen movie theater with a parking deck below, Grand Lux Cafe and new Borders. Since they are going with the entertainment route in that new wing, I would love to see a Dave and Busters open in the old Borders, but it probably won't happen because D&B's is close by in Palisades.

Tue Apr 10, 03:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

Downloaded and blew up the pic on my computer. That store at the left is none other than J.C. Penney Co. with their gold logotype they used up until early 1965.

While not enclosed, I like the look of this mall. If only today's contemporary big box centers did this...facing the 'big boxes' inwards like in this pic.

Tue Apr 10, 06:56:00 PM  
Blogger Steven Swain said...

This is a great scene. I would have loved to have gone to Garden State Plaza back in the day. Heck, I'd enjoy a trip now :-)

Tue Apr 10, 07:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Bill from NJ said...

I believe the next store down from Lorry's was Wolfie's, a luncheonette. Also, there was an enclosed promenade underneath with restrooms, a rare coin and stamp dealer and, if I'm not mistaken, a bank.

Other stores that were in the mall were Herman's World of Sporting Goods, Schiller's Bookstore, and Mern's (a men's clothing store).

What a great picture. Brought back things I haven't thought about in years.

Tue Apr 10, 09:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

J.C. Penney is the only original tenant of the mall. Bambergers was converted to macys in the late 80's. Gimbels was demolished and converted into a Nordstrom in the early 90's.

Tue Apr 10, 10:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Intersting things about that JCPenney: it was expanded about 10 years ago and is the only 3 level JCPenney in NJ, JCPenney is now totally surrounded by the mall, as a result of the 1990s expansion, deliveries in the store are made via a ramp near the Neiman Marcus parking deck on the top floor of the store.

Wed Apr 11, 10:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was anyone there to see Jerry Ford give a campaign speech in 1976? The mall still looked almost exactly like it does in this picture then. Ford got up and said "I saw a sing that says 'Jersey Love Jerry,' well let me tell you, Jerry Loves Jersey." It was pretty exciting. I'm a Democrat who voted against him, but I cheered along with everyone else.

Wed Apr 11, 12:15:00 PM  
Anonymous clistcelebrity said...

Oh my gosh that's one of my favorite malls! It looks so different. Would this be the entrance where the McDonald's and Ruby Tuesdays is located now?

Wed Apr 11, 02:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Lorrys in the picture was one of the sponsers of Paramus Junior Baseball League for years. The major league team was Lorrys and the AAA team with the same uniform was Corey's Maintance.

Wed Apr 11, 08:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to the question of the location in the current mall, add the roof and the bottom floor and you are looking at the "old wing" between Macys and JCPenney...looking toward Nordstrom/Gimbels, the current stores on the 2nd floor are Apple and Banana Republic on the right and Armani Exchange on the left.

Wed Apr 11, 10:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI, Arcadian Gardens was not a restaurant, but it was actually a garden store! You know, flowers, pots, soil, etc.

Fri Apr 13, 09:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually Macy's (NY) and Bambergers (NJ, Pa. & MD)were in effect one and the same. The names were finally unified in 1986. Additionally, the mall was originally built by RH MACY & Co. with the original store being (you guessed it) Bambergers. JC penny came later.

Wed Apr 18, 11:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes and no on the previous post. While the Penny's did open after the Bam's, that was just a factor in how the mall was constructed. Penny's was part of the mall from the planning stage and the "addition" that included the Penny's was in the original plan. It was just finished a little later.

Macy's bought Bamburgers much earlier in the century. The original Bam's was in Newark NJ.

Fri Apr 20, 02:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Little known fact - the Garden State Plaza and nearby Bergen Mall, which were both completed in 1957, were orginally conceived as a single mall, joint project. But negotiations didn't work out, and the two malls ended up being built down the road from each other.

Fri Apr 20, 02:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember the giant Santa they would install on one of the parking light pedestals. And then the "real" amll santa would arrive via helicopter.

Fri May 18, 01:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

does anyone remember the bowl-o-mat bowling alley in the basement. The entrance was on the gimbel's (now nordstrom's) side and would be located underneath the current mall entrance next to Joe's American Cafe.

Tue Jun 12, 05:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This brings back great memories. As kids we would take the bus to the mall and spend all day hanging out there. The was a great music store there that sold records and guitars. I want to think it was the original Sam Ash but I'm not sure. There was also a baseball card dealer (Sports Corner??) who got a lot of our hard earned paper route money. Thanks for the picture, great flashback.

Thu Jun 14, 09:09:00 AM  
Blogger Michael Leddy said...

This photo brings back many memories. As a teenaged mallgoer, I ate lunch at Lorry's with my friends. Lousy service (they didn't like us teenagers) but good food. I remember that a grillman was always visible in one window, flames shooting up, condensation on the glass.

"Survey"-givers used to stand under that overhang in the middle of the photo. I gave it a shot once and looked at ads while they tracked my eye movements. Some survey. I think I was paid $5.

The Sam that the June 14 commenter remembers must be Sam Goody. There was (is?) a Sam Ash somewhere nearby (Route 4 or Route 17) but not in the mall.

Thanks for bringing back memories.

Sat Aug 11, 10:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. We were talking about the mall today and I found this site. Thank you all for the memmories. Out side of one of the stores was a metal trough ( I think outside of Lorrys) and the sign said " doggy bar". And I remember the smells of Horne and Harndeart ( I think it's spelled wrong) and the huge Oriental store. DK

Sat Oct 20, 11:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

omg i remember my mom shopping at an arcadian gardens in eatontown at monmouth mall... imagine, malls had garden supply/nursery stores back then!

Sun Feb 24, 10:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know I'm really dating myself, but I was able to pay for my college education working nights and weekends at Gimbels in the late 60's and early 70's!!!
Saturday lunch break @ Lorry's was a treat.

My best HS bud worked the luncheon counter at the 5 & 10 on the other side of Bamberger's...it think it was Woolworth's!!

Oh my...thanks for the memories!

Sat Mar 01, 10:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This DOES bring back memories. I loved shopping with my Mom at Arcadian Gardens. And not many people have mentioned the Oriental Shop, which later moved to Route 4 and is now on Rt. 17 near Paramus Park.

And to answer an earlier post, I think Wolfie's was in the Bergen Mall, not Garden State Plaza....

Tue Mar 04, 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger Paramuschick said...

To the person who wanted to know the name of the record store, it was Sam Goody's. I still have all the 45rpm "records" that I bought from them!

Mon Apr 21, 03:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember the Santa Claus and always thought he looked odd because he only had one leg. (The other one was in the chimney). Was this at the Garden State Plaza, or on top of Alexander's on RT. 4? I remember I did not like shopping at the Garden State Plaza during winter, too cold outside. Weren't there individual shops scattered throughout the mall that had access only from the outdoors? This is what I remember, but could be wrong. I was only 14 when it was enclosed and my memory may not be exact. Paramus has changed so much...progress.

Tue May 27, 11:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am pretty sure that there used to be a Finast supermarket in the mall around the mid-1960's. A Herman's World of Sporting Goods later moved into that site, I think. I also seem to remember a small barber shop that was underground in the concourse, near where the survey place was.

Wed Jun 11, 01:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was also a Spencer Gifts and a Kreskies (sp.) which was like a Woolworths complete with a lunch counter. My dad used to take me clothing shopping at Lobel's. My friends and I used to take the bus there from Fair Lawn and walk through the drainage tunnel that ran between the north end of the mall parking lot, under rt 4 and across to Alexander's.

Sat Oct 11, 03:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also worked at the GSP, during High School, at a store called Foxmoor..which was a girls store..I could not wait to get my drivers liscense to work there..

Sun Dec 21, 10:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

who can tell me for sure if a Horna Hardart restaurant was in the original Garden State Plaza, I say it was.

Mon Dec 29, 08:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember the name of a chinese restaurant that was there in the 70's. My friend ate their first chinese meal at that restaurant.

Tue Jan 13, 08:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wasn't Horn and Hrdart only in the city? Cannot remember any on the Jersey side

Wed Jan 14, 05:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The chinese restaurant was Jasmine Gardens.....My Mom always told me that was my first outing as a baby.....for Father's Day 1964....I was born June 1

Sun Oct 18, 01:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

man so many good memories are packed in that photo. My mother took us to the mall every Wednesday. Many hours spent in Gimbels.

A few more stores no one mentioned:
Cornells (kids clothes on the side of Bams), The red barn (mens clothes), Madameselle (womens dresses near Gimbels), Wallachs (SP), Singer store near Sam Goody's and The Oriental shop (in the back of Bams).

Does anyone remember the puppet shows, ponch and judy? Christmas time was the best there

Thanks for the great memories.

Wed Nov 18, 11:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a horn an hardarts (excuse the spelling) i thought in the bergen mall. the memories kinda blur because of close proximity and both being outdoor malls. Anybody remember the Sinclair dinasaur exhibit?

Mon Mar 08, 04:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The store on the left is JC Penny's which is still at the same location in the current mall. Gone, however, is the upstairs portion (where the JC Penny and Company sign is shown in the photo). This used to be a technical training school.

Wed Mar 09, 10:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Other stores included Sam Goodie's, Child World, Chandler's shoe store, Mack Drugs which in the photo was located toward the Gimbel's on the left, Schiller's book store, which was the last store on the left before reaching Gimbel's and past Mack Drugs. I purchased my first Dungeons and Dragons game at Schiller's Book Store. And Arcadian Gardens was a plant store similar to Metropolitan Plant Exchange. There was also a Rustler's Steak House which was located where the current Legal Seafood is located.

Wed Mar 09, 11:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to a previous post, Wolfie's was located in the Bergen Mall. It was located just before Ohrbach's across from the Magnavox Store.

Wed Mar 09, 11:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the mid-60s when the GSP was still open-plan, the supermarket wasn't a Finast but a Food Fair. Herman's World of Sporting Goods eventually took over the space and today it's Old Navy. The section of Macy's closest to Rt. 17 South used to be a large 2-level Bond (men's) Clothing store. The Limited now occupies most of what used to be Arcadian Gardens which, in succession, had a covered outdoor section, selling outdoor plants and shrubs, some landscaping materials and X-mass trees, that would close for the rest of the winter, then a large hot and humid greenhouse section and then the pottery, candles and crafts section. Bambergers, now Macy's, used to have a separate Annex that sold silver/flatware. There also once used to be a religious bookstore in the Plaza. Many of the planters were huge round wide-diameter barrel-like brown-cedar shake covered structures about 4 ft. high planted with trees and ground ivy and some of the low brick ones were water-filled with floating water lilies. The 4 absolutely huge main air-conditioning plant units were clearly visible towering atop the JC Penney building and, in summer when a breeze was blowing, a stray minidrop or 2 of condensation water coming off them might hit your skin as you were walking from one store to another. The outdoor walkways were mainly named after trees: Magnolia Lane - the main drag connecting Bamberger's and Gimbel's, Dogwood Lane, Cherry Lane, Something-or-other Terrace, etc. The high wooden Christmas "mini-Santas-as Bell-Ringers" musical arch in front of Gimbel's was also a holiday classic as were the tiny year-round outdoor pretzel and hot dog stands at the opposite ends of Magnolia Lane. It was a great mall even then and it has left many hundreds of thousands of people with very fond memories of just how good it used to be in those days !!

Fri Apr 08, 11:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my first job in high school was working in the tennis section of herman's sporting goods. in those days there were few racquets and you only needed to know whether a wood racquet was stiff or flexible. herman's was the equivalent to sports authority today. it was a great mall and i have fond memories of shopping there with my family.

Mon Jul 18, 09:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anybody remember the name of the restaurant near Gimbels that served the popovers?

Sat Sep 10, 10:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I seem to remember the restaurant as the Paul Revere Inn, or something like that?

Sat Nov 12, 08:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember going to the Plaza when it was still an outdoor mall in the 60's & 70's. My grandfather was a baker at Lorry's restaurant that is in this picture. The only downside of the mall being an outdoor one was that when it was winter time, it was so darn cold walking the mall that we would have to walk into one of the stores just to warm up.

The other cool thing about the mall that I miss is the giant Santa Claus coming out of the chimney that was set up in the front parking lot every Christmas.

Mon Nov 14, 08:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The name of the restaurant that served the popovers was the Cambridge Inn. They were a customer of my father's linen supply company, so we spent many a special occasion there.

Tue Dec 20, 12:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember that Gimbels chime or bell? What was that?

Sat Jan 21, 03:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, there was definitely a Horn and Hardart restaurant at the Garden State Plaza. Unlike the ones in NYC, it was not an automat but a regular restaurant with waitresses and waiters. It was a great place to eat! It was located close to the bus stop.
I also remember Neisner's (5 and 10) and the Atlantic Bookstore.

Tue Jan 31, 12:51:00 PM  
Anonymous GEORGE-MR. CHRISTMAS said...

Hi, I finally found a picture of the huge SANTA on the chimney in the front parking lot. Does anyone remember the huge snowman that someone would be inside andspak to the passersby and the huge tree of bells that rang tunes throughout the holiday season? Thank you, George GJPUCCIO@AOL.COM

Tue May 22, 06:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My absolute favorite memory of the Plaza was the outdoor exhibit with the reindeer. I would go around to all the exhibits making sure that all the reindeer were accounted for, except Rudolph who, as we know, was a fictional reindeer. I think they only had it a couple of years. Also, loved eating at Friendly's, next to Schiller's.

Mon Oct 08, 06:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks to all for binging back long ago thoughts....I loved the bells display ringing at Christmas. I do remember a Christmas display with small houses and animated figures of Santa, elves and such. I so enjoyed the Reindeer along with the talking snowman.
I had a thing for those planters that were so beautiful in the spring full of amazing colorful flowers.
I used to hop from planter to planter that ran down the paths, jumping off one, and back up the next one running the length and do it over and over. I was around six years old so I found them so exciting.
Also going to the Catalog dept. of J.C.Penny which if I remember was located in a lower section of the store at the time, maybe even where pick ups took place for larger items.
I was born in '62 and did spend alot of time growing up in those malls. To this day I shop there, but with my teenagers. At times I tell them of a memory I have of the open mall it once was.
As a teen myself we used to hang at the drive in movies that was to the rear of the mall. We hung in very large groups there playing music from our cars, from Frampton to Van Halen, talking to pretty girls, and enjoying the youthful freedom we were just coming to experience.
It was a beautiful time of my life, thanks for binging me back for a moment.

Sun Dec 09, 06:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember the name of the country western style bar/restaurant in the mall in the 80's?

Sat Jun 01, 09:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rustler steak house or something like that. Used to be a Ginos burger place too.

Fri Jun 14, 03:34:00 PM  
Anonymous GarySF said...

I used to work at both Schiller's Books and Herman's Sporting Goods. The Herman's gang would go out afterward to Casa Maria, the great mexican restaurant and bar adjacent.

Sat Aug 31, 05:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked at Horn and Hardarts, SS Kresge decades before it became K Mart, and Mack Drug before CVS bought it. I loved to enter Bambergers through the entrance where they sold perfume; smelled like heaven. Bought records at Sam Goody, clothes at Cornell's, books at as Schillers, fish at the pet store. Across route 4 you could see the painting on the front of Alexanders. Let's not forget the Fashion Center with the carpeted promenade.

Sun Oct 20, 04:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great picture. I grew up within walking distance of the mall and had my first part time job at the dinette within Kresge's (a predecessor of K-Mart, I think). AS a college student, I worked at Schiller's Books while the mall was being enclosed. There also used to be a bowling alley in the mall!

Tue Nov 05, 01:02:00 PM  

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