As the holiday season approaches, the Hudson Valley Mall (HVM) in the Town of Ulster, once the epicenter of retail commerce in Ulster County, seemed to be bustling. Appearances can be deceiving.
At two o’clock in the afternoon of Black Friday, about 90 per cent of the parking spaces in front of the Target anchor store were filled. Customers bustled through the entrance, and many came back out carrying white plastic bags with the familiar red Target bullseye logo. Stores like H&M and Best Buy were crowded with inquiring shoppers, and many people of all ages strolled up and down the hallways of the enclosed mall, built by the Pyramid Company in 1981. The tables in the food court were crowded with the groups of teenagers referred to, sometimes disparagingly and sometimes affectionately, as the “mall rats.” Private security officers and janitorial staff were strategically placed.
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