Mini-Mallism — What’s in a Name?


I might be the only person who’s tickled by mini-malls with names. The idea, I assume, is to create a sense of space… albeit for a place in which no one thinks of as a space. Aside from panhandlers, pimps, pushers, and prostitutes; I doubt that anyone has ever made a day of hanging out at a mini-mall. People drive or walk to them, do their business, and then drive or walk home. No one goes to a mini-mall with more than one purpose in mind. No one, in other words, does a load of laundry, grabs a bite to eat at 7-Eleven, takes care of business at the T-Mobile Store, has dinner at the Thai place, and then heads back to the 7-Eleven for a 40oz that they enjoy in the alley behind. It’s also almost impossible, then, to imagine anyone ever referring to a mini-mall by their pointless and comically pretentious names… although it amuses me to imagine a scenario in which someone asks what I’m up to and I reply, “Oh, just hanging out at Premier Plaza, you know” as if expecting them to know what I’m talking about.

Koreaone Plaza (Koreatown/Wilshire Center, 1921)
Kyungdong “K.D.” Plaza/경동프라자 (Koreatown/Wilshire Center, 1920)
Golden Plaza (Silver Lake, 1979)
Annies Plaza (Hel-Mel, 1966)
Los Feliz Plaza (Los Feliz, 1970)
Cypress Plaza
Cypress Plaza (Cypress Park, 1985)

…to be continued!

Eric Brightwell is an adventurer, writer, rambler, explorer, cartographer, and guerrilla gardener who is always seeking writing, speaking, traveling, and art opportunities — or salaried work. He is not interested in generating advertorials, clickbait, listicles, or other varieties of spam. Brightwell has written for Angels Walk LAAmoeblogBoom: A Journal of CaliforniadiaCRITICSHidden Los Angeles, and KCET Departures. His art has been featured by the American Institute of Architects, the Architecture & Design Museum, the Craft & Folk Art MuseumForm Follows FunctionLos Angeles County Store, the book SidewalkingSkid Row Housing Trust, and 1650 Gallery. Brightwell has been featured as subject in The Los Angeles TimesHuffington PostLos Angeles MagazineLAistCurbedLAEastsider LABoing BoingLos Angeles, I’m Yours, and on Notebook on Cities and Culture. He has been a guest speaker on KCRWWhich Way, LA? and at Emerson College. Art prints of Brightwell’s maps are available from 1650 GalleryHe is currently writing a book about Los Angeles and you can follow him on AmebaFacebookGoodreadsInstagramMubiTwitter, and Weibo.
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