Latham, New York. A suburb of Albany, Schenectady, and Troy . . . essentially a sprawl of commercial and residential wonders plopped into the middle of the Tri-City area sporting Siena College, an infamous knot of a traffic circle, and every chain and franchise that has christened every other suburb in America.
In late January 2011, the evening news ran a story about the impending demolition of the Purina-like red & white checkered “Latham” water towers (very conspicuous features that had become a definitive feature of the hamlet).
I thus braved the bitter January upstate NY pre-dawn and headed out, only to find out from one of the unloading contractors that it was to be a “slow demolition…no big booms.” Boo!
I therefore made my way next door to the empty halls and musty-scented Latham Circle Mall.
Growing up in the 80s, this, along with Northway Mall, Mohawk Mall, Clifton Country Mall, and Colonie Center were the Capital Region’s thriving indoor shopping meccas. Once Crossgates took off and Colonie Center got a major facelift, the others began to fade away.
The food court always surprised me for the fact that it had an entire additional upstairs dining area that was never used. I recall there even being a small bar at the bottom of the steps.
I had always appreciated the mall for it was the only one in the Capital Region that had TWO…yes TWO video game arcades!
Prior to the early ’90s, JC Pennys was located next to the mall…you had to walk outside to get to the front door. It was finally razed, replaced by a newer version that was connected by a new section of the mall containing a movie theater and connecting parking garage:
Surprisingly, there were still just a handful of stores open when these pics were taken: a couple of hair salons and some creepy army/navy-type store selling patriotic paraphernalia.
The mall has since been demolished and replaced with . . . you guessed it . . . a Wal*Mart.