The old 10-screen Crestwood Plaza AMC theater closed last month. It took two weeks for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to notice, and probably for many others.
As a sign that I’m getting older, the theater’s obituary called it “dated.” And I thought to myself that it wasn’t long ago that they built it.
I looked it up. They built it in 1992. See? Not very long ago…. Oh, wait. It was 20 years ago. The “new” AMC theater might be older than the facility it replaced was. I remember going there to see a number of early 1990s blockbusters. I also remember going there to not see several early 1990s blockbusters because I had one friend at the time who possessed the annoying habit of rarely carrying ID. Whether we got in depended mostly on the whims of the employees in the box office, because they’d let him in about half the time without ID. That increased our odds significantly, because I’m not sure he carried his ID even 10 percent of the time.
None of that matters now, though, because nobody’s getting in. Or, if they do manage to get in, they won’t be watching anything.
I mentioned the closing to some friends Friday night, who said they thought the whole mall was closed now. After all, last month there wasn’t much left there besides a Sears, a theater, and a US Postal Service retail store. Then I drove past Saturday morning. There was a huge sign on the outlot, proudly proclaiming that Lens Crafters is open. And outside the Lens Crafters store itself, there was a huge yellow banner saying they were offering eye exams today. I’m not in the market for glasses, so I didn’t stop in.
So the place that I spent so many dollars and so many Fridays is reduced to a Lens Crafters on one wing, a US Postal Service retail store on the other–a visit to USPS.com verifies they’re still open there–and unclear plans for redevelopment. Not to mention a fair number of memories. But memories, as we all know, don’t pay the rent.
Now the Post-Dispatch is advocating tearing down that wing of the mall and replacing it with a one-screen drive-in, retro-style. I guess I shouldn’t mention that the old 66 Park-In Theatre used to stand right across Watson Road from Crestwood Plaza, and they tore that down in 1994 to make way for a strip mall that now consists of a struggling Best Buy, a Gordman’s, a grocery store, and a big-box retail space that once housed a Builder’s Square, then a Kmart, but has been vacant for 15 years?
I remember going Christmas shopping at Crestwood Mall with my family about four years ago and there was an almost tangible sadness in the air – few shops were still open, and even fewer shoppers were patronizing them. Oh, how far the mighty have fallen!
I noticed that the theater sign on Watson was naked on Friday when I went to the post office at the mail, so it was just a guess that AMC finally threw in the towel there. I’d rather go to that little post office store than deal with the parking in Kirkwood any day.
I imagine if they put a USPS sign on that wing–there’s lots of empty wall space for one–that store would do good business for exactly that reason. Much easier to get in and out of that lot, and you don’t have to jockey for 6 available parking spots.