NorthPark Says Bye To Some Stores on Its Dark Side, and We're Crushed

On the plus side, Gymboree's departure from NorthPark lessens the odds we'll have to see something like this.
On the plus side, Gymboree's departure from NorthPark lessens the odds we'll have to see something like this.

If you make less than $3 million per year, then you are familiar with the rough part of NorthPark Mall. You know, the dark side. The wing where there aren’t gowns you wear to the Academy Awards and the basic white T-shirts don’t run $75. The side without the contraption-pond-thing that is supposed to be art but instead a bunch of snot-nosed, wealthier-than-you kids slide down it.

We’re talking about the food-court side. The part of the mall your rich aunt wouldn’t be caught dead in. The area where you can eat a corny dog at Sonic one minute and then shop for swimsuits year-round at Everything But Water. Well that side is going to see some major changes because Forever 21, Abercrombie and Fitch and a bunch of other amazingly horrible stores are going bye-bye, according to a Morning News story about the malls' 50th anniversary. (We confirmed the departures with a mall spokeswoman.) Here is your warning because you only have so much time to relish in all their glory.

Forever 21 is on its way out. It's that two-story shop that resembles a sort of hellhole next to the movie theater. The mannequins in the window wear shirts with sayings such as “Perfect 10” and “Slacker” written across the chest. Inside, a bunch of girls, ranging in age from 11 to 55, search for an outfit that says, “This outfit will fall apart after one run through the washing machine.” Your mother repeatedly asks you, “Is this a shirt or dress?” NEITHER — IT’S A SKIRT, MOM. Clothes are thrown on the floor, and nothing is organized. Hats are somewhere next to the pajamas and the men’s clothing is scattered among the women’s. Insider tip: Search long and hard enough and you can find children hidden behind the floral rompers, where their babysitters left them days ago, hungry and scared. Yes, you better hurry because you only have so much longer to pick a random girl in the store, while hoping and praying she works there, to ask her for help, only to have her sigh in your face and walk away. It’s a NorthPark rite of passage, and we are devastated to see it go.

Claire’s is also going, so sorry about that third earring hole you’ve been thinking about. Looks like you’re going to have to be a real grown-up and actually go to a tattoo parlor to get that piercing. Long gone are the days of snagging a Boy Band Of The Moment calendar and a blow-up chair for your bedroom at the same store while eyeing a purple furry purse with your first-name initial on it. It’s time to move on to bigger and better things. Might we suggest Spencer’s?

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But while you’re at it, head to Build-A-Bear, which is somewhere nearby, and give birth to a teddy bear. Go all out. Buy the stuffless animal and stuff it and dress it up and give it a birth certificate. Then to really make it your own and also really creepy, put one of those talking devices in it that says something so every time your girlfriend presses its paw-paw, she has to hear your dumbass say, “You make my heart beat, Jennifer.” Chicks dig that and you only have so long before you’ll be stuck giving her something like jewelry or flowers.

Hollister and Abercrombie and Fitch are leaving, which means there will be no stores that make you shop in the dark for your Highland Park-surfer-vibe wardrobe. Be sure to walk past Abercrombie and Fitch as many times as possible to look at the shirtless 16-year-old models before it becomes creepy. You only have so much time left.

And finally, Gymboree will soon be gone, so you don’t have a lot of time left to witness a 2-year-old kicking and screaming on the ground in protest of his mother buying him a straw fedora for his small baby head. Even a 2-year-old knows that straw fedora is threatening to his future and ability to ever be taken seriously and won’t stand for it. Get to Gymboree now to see all the fun action before it’s too late. 


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